Rate rise proposed

A 15 per cent increase in rates each year for the next five years is being considered by Snowy River Shire Council as a possible option to tackle its growing infrastructure gap.

It is one of three scenarios council is proposing to ratepayers to address its long term financial sustainability.

Council's Long Term Financial Plan (LTFP) outlines a negative net operating result before Capital Revenue to 2018 indicating that in order to be sustainable Council will need to increase rates or find alternative funding sources to continue current service levels or reduce current service levels.

A 15 per cent rate increase for five years would reduce council's capital expenditure gap to $16 million over 10 years.

The other options are for a 3 per cent rate increase resulting in a capital expenditure gap of $30.1 million over 10 years or a 10 per cent rate increate which would see a capital expenditure gap of $20.6 million over 10 years.

Snowy River Shire Council's general manager Joseph Vescio said council had an infrastructure gap which was growing and needed to be reduced. One way to address that in the long term was to increase rates, he said.

"This is a discussion we've got to have with the community," he said.

"There are a range of ways we can do it. With the 15 per cent scenario we could do it as quickly as possible.

"If the community decide they don't want the increase we will have to say to the community they will have to accept a lower standard of assets moving forward."

Mr Vescio said nothing was "set in concrete" yet and council were looking for the community's feedback on the issue.

"The LTFP enables Council to plan for the long term financial sustainability of the organisation. Any rate increase above rate pegging is subject to community consultation, future council resolution and Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal of NSW (IPART) review," Mr Vescio said.

"Council will be talking to our community over the coming months, to obtain your input and expectations in relation to the LTFP and how we propose to maintain each scenario into the future," Mr Vescio said.

"We encourage all rate payers and interested residents to participate in the consultation sessions. They will be delivered via a number of different mediums and locations. Your views are important to Council and will influence the future direction of our Shire".

He said this was just the start of the discussion which he expects will continue over the next 12-18 months.

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