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Councillor Column – 19 September 2023 – Deputy Mayor Alison Foreman

Sep 22, 2023

For Immediate Release 19 September 2023
Authorised by Deputy Mayor Alison Foreman

By now you have most likely heard the discussion around a ‘Special Rate Variation’ (SRV), but what is it and why is Council asking for community input?

Below are some FAQs to assist Hilltops residents make an informed decision regarding their financial future:

What is a Special Rate Variation (SRV) and Rate-Pegging?

Rates increase each year in line with an amount set by the State Government. This amount is calculated every year and is called a ‘rate peg’. This is decided by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART). The rate peg applied to Hilltops Council for the 23/24 financial year is 3.7%, this increase has been added to your current rates notice.

If after community consultation ratepayers believe that Council’s rate revenue is not enough to maintain service levels, Council can apply to IPART to increase rate revenue by more than the rate peg. This is known as a Special Rate Variation. To apply for an SRV, Council must demonstrate to the community and IPART that they need the money and have implemented improvements to be more efficient and productive.

Why would Council and Community consider an SRV?

The rate increases set by the State Government have not kept pace with cost escalations faced by council in providing services to our community. Council service deliveries have increased – from fuelling vehicles to carrying out the many daily activities of Council, the costs involved in construction and purchasing materials have also risen. The rate peg 3.7% has not kept up with the rate of inflation which currently sits at 6%.

As a ratepayer, why should I engage in community consultation?

The decision to lodge a Notice of Intent to apply for an SRV falls on Councillors, however as your Deputy Mayor I urge the ratepayers of Hilltops to attend at least one of the twenty Hilltops Community Consultation Workshops being held across Hilltops.

These workshops will give you valuable insight into how Council works and give you the opportunity to ask relevant questions. Ultimately, the decision of Councillors relies heavily on the input we receive from the community.

To have a say in your financial future, and view the Hilltops Community Consultation Workshop times and dates visit: www.hilltops.nsw.gov.au/special-rate-variation-information/

You can also find the Hilltops Community Satisfaction Survey and Councillor contact information on the Hilltops Council website.

Alison Foreman Deputy Mayor

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