Sunday, March 27, 2011

Council to seek IPART permission to increase rates

Council to seek IPART permission to increase rates in return for improved facilities

Media release date: Monday 28 March 2011

Hornsby Shire Council last Wednesday resolved to submit its application for a rate increase to the NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal of NSW (IPART).

IPART is expected to make a decision on the application by mid-June.

“If IPART approves our comprehensive application, we will undertake many important projects, including the redevelopment of Hornsby Aquatic Centre,” said Mayor Nick Berman.

The application will propose the rate increase be staged over three years (7.8 percent in 2011/12, 6 percent in 2012/13 and 4 percent in 2013/14, including rate pegging). The 5.3 percent Hornsby Quarry rate levy would cease in 2015/16. Rates would increase by $1.70 per week for the average ratepayer over the three years compared to normal rate capping.

In 2011/12, Council would commit more than $2.46 million towards open space and sportsground upgrade projects including drainage improvements at Cheltenham Oval and the construction of a new amenities building at Hayes Park in Galston, a mountain bike track at Old Mans Valley in Hornsby and more than a dozen other projects.

If the application is approved, in 2011/12 Council plans to spend an additional $680,000 on drainage improvement works, an extra $300,000 on footpath upgrades and approximately $120,000 each on renovations for Epping and Galston Aquatic Centres.

“Extensive drainage, footpath, road, community centre and open space improvement works across the Shire will be funded by the rate increase over the next 10 years,” said the Mayor.

“We have been crippled in our ability to improve our community infrastructure by State Government rate capping and cost shifting over several years,” he said.

Council undertook extensive, best practice community consultation throughout February and March including community information sessions in Beecroft, Hornsby and Berowra, an online survey and face-to-face surveys at shopping centre, libraries and community events.

Of the 411 residents consulted during the public exhibition period, 72 percent of respondents supported the additional rate to fund the repair, replacement and upgrade of community infrastructure, with 28 percent of residents opposed to the rate increase.

“We received several submissions from local sporting clubs in support of the increase as it will deliver improved sporting and recreational facilities,” said Mayor Nick Berman.

Council will continue to review its internal and external services to identify possible efficiency gains and savings.

For more information on the increase, visit

Media contact: David Hayes, Media Coordinator. Ph: 9847 6553.

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