Final decision after community consultation
Ratepayers would face a rates increase of more than 48 per cent under a proposal put to Narrandera Shire Council at a meeting this week.
During the September council meeting, it was recommended that the council make an application to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) for the implementation of a Special Variation (SV) begin in the 2024/25 financial year.
The proposed SV options include a one-year SV of 41.5 per cent in 2024-25, including the forecasted rate peg of 3.5 per cent, or a two-year SV of 25.5 per cent in 2024-25, including the forecasted rate peg of 3.5 per cent, and 18.0 per cent in 2025-26, including the forecasted rate peg of 2.5 per cent.
These variations amount to a cumulative Special Variation of 48.1 per cent over two years.
To ensure transparency and community involvement, Narrandera Shire Council will commence a comprehensive community consultation process based on the approved Community Engagement Plan for a Special Variation. This process will allow residents and stakeholders to have their voices heard and provide feedback on the proposed rate increase.
The council this week endorsed its Strategic Asset Management Plan, Delivery Program, Community Engagement Plan, and Long-Term Financial Plan.
Mayor Cr. Neville Kschenka emphasized the importance of community engagement in decision-making: “We value the input and participation of our residents and stakeholders in shaping the future of our shire. This is a crucial step in securing the financial stability of the council while ensuring we meet our legislative obligations and community expectations.”
The outcomes of the community consultation process will be presented in a report at the council’s November meeting. Council will carefully consider the feedback received before making a final decision on the Special Variation application.
The need to upgrade the stormwater system in Narrandera has been identified as a key factor impacting the long-term sustainability of the council. The proposed rate increase aims to provide the necessary funding to address infrastructure challenges and maintain service levels that meet community needs.
Council has undergone a comprehensive assessment of its financial position and believes that a significant increase in income is necessary to ensure its long-term viability. Both IPART and higher levels of government expect councils to be sustainable and capable of fulfilling their legislative obligations.
Council encourages all residents and stakeholders to actively participate in the community consultation process and provide their valuable feedback to help shape the future direction of Narrandera Shire.
For more information on the proposed rate increase, community consultation process, and how to get involved, please visit the Narrandera Shire Council website Special Variation | Narrandera Shire Council (nsw.gov.au) or contact 02 6959 5510.
This article appeared in the Narrandera Argus, 21 September 2023.