Like most NSW Councils, a lot of our roads, footpaths, buildings and other community assets are getting old and need to be upgraded. We need to find around $21 million more per year for this or we’ll start losing assets as roads, playgrounds and pools reach the end of their useful life and fail. We’ve seen this in recent years with infrastructure such as the Wollongong Town Hall, Darkes Road Bridge and Bellambi Rock Pool all failing and needing major work to keep them. If we don’t take action this will get worse.
We’ve had lots of conversations with the community about how to address this issue.
In order to meet the savings challenge, on 17 February 2014, Councillors resolved that to secure our financial future Council must deliver:
- A minimum $4.5 million target for efficiencies
- $1.5 million in service level adjustments
- A minimum $500,000 in increased fees and charges
- A Special Rate Variation (SRV) for an increase in ‘General Revenue’ and minimum rate amounts. The increase in ‘General Revenue’ will provide additional revenue of approximately $14.5 million (6.13% in 2014-15, 6.23% in 2015-16 and 6.24% in 2016-17).
Based on this, Council submitted a SRV application to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) on 24 February 2014. On 3 June 2014 IPART determined the outcome of this application and approved Council’s request in full for annual increases for ‘General Income from Rates’ of 6.13% in 2014-15, 6.23% in 2015-16 and 6.24% in 2016-17. This is a cumulative increase of 19.78% by 2016-17 (11.25% above the anticipated rate peg).
At its meeting of 23 June 2014, Council adopted the Annual Plan 2014-15, Budget 2014-15 and Capital Budget 2014-15 as well as the Revenue Policy, Fees and Charges 2014-15.
The Council also endorsed its rates and charges, including the SRV comprising of 6.13% increase in General Revenue (inclusive of 2.3% rate peg) as determined by IPART.
If you'd like to read our application to IPART, you'll find it on the Securing Our Future page.
Below is a short video we made as part of our community engagement process, which explains the issues we're trying to address through the Securing Our Future project.