Tuesday, July 16, 2024

No plan to align town rates with Toowoomba’s

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Toowoomba Region Mayor Geoff McDonald says Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) is not working to bring the rates for towns into line with those being paid by Toowoomba city residents.

“Toowoomba Regional Council is determined to tackle long term economic challenges head on,” Mayor McDonald said.

“Over the past two years, as part of our planning for the future, Council has undertaken a wide-ranging review of its rates and charges with the focus on attaining long-term financial sustainability.

“This included using industry-best standards including benchmarking Toowoomba Regional Council against neighbouring local government areas as well as similar sized councils throughout the state including ‘like-for-like’ comparison for main towns and small towns.

“We engaged in this review process as part of a wider process to improve efficiencies and reduce costs.

“The findings of this review identified some inequities in the way rates were charged across our differential general rate categories. Toowoomba is a very complex region compared to other local government areas across the state.

“We have many differing rating classes including city and outer urban areas, main towns, small towns, extensive rural areas, commercial and general industrial areas, mines and power generation. All of these have differing levels of service and are charged differing rates.

“Getting the balance right takes some fine-tuning from year-to-year. These tweaks to the system will be undertaken under a ‘multi-year approach’.

“We are not moving to make all rates the same across the region. We understand that Toowoomba City receives a premium level of services compared to other areas and should pay higher rates when compared to the regional areas. This will continue to be the case and our smaller towns will pay less than the city, however, adjustments need to be made to make it more equitable for all.

“As an organisation, it is important to take into consideration how we can best support all ratepayers facing financial hardship in the current financial climate, while still enabling the Council to fund and deliver services that are valued in all our communities.

“Ensuring Council’s financial stability is not an easy task, and it needs a range of measures over time to achieve true sustainability.”     

This article appeared in On Our Selection News, 4 July 2024


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