Newcastle City Council has just issued its 2015-2016 rate notices. Contained therein was a brochure explaining “Your rates”. It states:
In May the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) approved Council’s application to increase its total rate rate income by 8% for a period of 5 years ie 2015/2016 to 2019/2020. This increase includes a rate cap increase of 2.4% for 2015/2016.
This means trhe everage residential rate will increase by approximately $86 in the 2015/2016 year.
The brochure goes on to state that the additional revenue will be used to accelerate trhe completion of projects and substantial reductions in infrastructure. It further cites that facilities, roads, footpaths, sportsgrounds, parks and playgrounds will be in better condition.
What the brochure does not exactly say is that there will be an increase in rates of 8% every year until 2019/2020 meaning that the total rate rise over the next five years will be 46.9%. This is done for obvious reasons. No council wants to state to their ratepayers that they are raising rates by nearly 50%. This of course could be construed as being misleading by not clearly setting out exactly what the rate rises actually are.
Council needs to put in place or improve efficiences in all aspects of its operations to ensure reductions in expenditure. They cannot just expect the ratepayers to continue to fund councils which continue to operate with inefficient, outdated and expensive work practices.