Lismore City Council chambers
Lismore City Council chambers

IPART approves Lismore council rate rise

LISMORE City Council will increase rates by 1.8% above the rate peg limit from July 1 following approval by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal.

This will see the average residential rate increase by $45, the average farmland rates will rise by $84 and buisness rates by $76.

The council has received approval for an increase of 3.6% in 2016-17, including the rate peg, to implement its Biodiversity Management Strategy.

This will be retained permanently in the rate base.

Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal IPART Chairman Peter Boxall said applications are assessed against the NSW Government’s published criteria.

All submissions received from ratepayers, community groups and other stakeholders were also considered.

Through the rate peg and special variation processes, IPART determines the allowable increases to councils’ general income.

Councils decide how to allocate the increase among different ratepayer categories, such as residential, business and farmland.

Dr Boxall said special variations are designed to give councils the flexibility to generate additional income above the rate peg to meet their specific needs, with an independent assessment process to approve the increase.

“In making these assessments, we have considered each council’s long term financial plan, taking into account the financial need of the council and the capacity and willingness of ratepayers to pay the requested increase,” Dr Boxall said.

“Lismore and Tweed Shire councils were able to meet the criteria for approval of the special variation by demonstrating a need for the additional revenue, that they had appropriately engaged the community about the proposed rate increases, and that they are taking steps to improve productivity and contain costs.”

“Although some communities had differing views about the increases, the councils have demonstrated that they have provided opportunity for input and considered the impact on ratepayers.”

Lismore Shire Council

Lismore Shire Council applied to increase its income by 3.6%, to be retained permanently in the rate base.

The increase is estimated to generate an additional $500,000 above the rate peg in 2016-17 to enable the council to fund its Biodiversity Management Strategy.

The council considers that business rates are already high and the increase will therefore only apply to residential and farmland ratepayers.

“Based on the council’s application, in 2016-17 the average residential rate will increase by $45, and the average farmland rate by $84, with the average business rate increasing by $76, in line with the rate peg,” Dr Boxall said.

In approving the application, IPART noted that the impact on ratepayers is modest and reasonable given the small size of the special variation, and that the council has taken into account ratepayers’ willingness and capacity to pay.

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