Special Rate Variation and Long Term Financial Plan

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Update 12 January 2023 - Online calculator

Now that the NSW Valuer General has release new land values, we have an online rate calculator to help rate payers better understand the effect of the proposed increases to rates on their property.

The calculator is a great way to see how property value can affect your rate - and how a large increase in property value does not necessarily equal a large increase in your rates bill. Where some property values increased substantially more than others – their share of the total rate will increase.

The rate calculator uses new land values determined by the NSW Valuer General to show an indicative general rate for your property under each of the rate variation scenarios Council is considering.

You can access the rate calculator via this link

Background

To address Council’s long-term financial sustainability, we have notified the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) that we are considering applying for a special rate variation (a rate increase). You can provide feedback on this proposal until 31 January 2023.

How did we get here?

The income we receive is less than the expenses we have. This has been the case for a number of years.

Both the former Palerang Council and Queanbeyan City Council were considering options to increase revenue before the merger that created QPRC.

Following the merger, legislation was in place that stopped us from raising rates for four years or reducing expenses by consolidating offices or staff.

While we were able to improve and build new infrastructure with funding we received from the merger, we haven’t been able to address the income we receive. Rates increases have been limited to the rate peg set by the IPART, which has not met the increased costs of providing services.

The costs of construction and materials for new projects, and for infrastructure renewal continue to increase. We also have significant population growth (at 1.9% per year) and the costs of expanded services is increasing more than the income received from additional rate payers.

What have we done to save money?

We are making $2.2m in annual savings, however since the merger our service levels and other costs have increased which has used all of these savings.

We have made budget decisions in recent years to reduce costs; in 2022 this included more than $2m in one-off adjustments via a 5% reduction in our materials and services budget, and deferring recruitment.

We asked independent financial experts Morrison Low to undertake an independent financial assessment of Council to ensure we provide value for ratepayers and to minimise the rate rise.

What will the rate rise look like?

The rate rise only applies to the general rate charge. This is the base rate and land value (or ad valorem) charge on your rates notice. It does not apply to garbage or general waste, sewerage, stormwater, or water access charges.

We are considering three scenarios for rates increases. Two scenarios propose making significant operational savings, partly through service cuts. The rate rise scenarios include the rate peg of 4.6% in year one and 2.5% in years two and three. This means that all figures are inclusive and will not change if IPART increase or reduce the rate peg in the next three years. In each of the following scenarios the annual rates increases are permanent and cumulative and in year four and future years the rate peg percentage increase will apply to the new higher rate levels. The scenarios are as follows:

Scenario 1 – Significantly reduce services

  • An increase in rates of 12% every year for three years. This would be a cumulative rate increase of 41%
  • For an average ratepayer this would be an increase in year one of $129 per annum or $2.50 extra per week, in year two this would be another increase of $144 per annum or $2.80 per week and in year three another increase of $161 per annum and $3.10 per week.
  • These increases do not fund Council operations and require a strategy to reduce expenses by $12 million each year.
  • Under all scenarios we will improve asset renewal for gravel and sealed roads, sporting facilities, parks and amenities.
  • Savings could include selling off The Q, stopping funding to all community facilities and activities, cutting heritage grants, closing aquatic centres and stopping developments of new sports and aquatic facilities, increasing fees, significantly reducing urban amenities (street sweeping, mowing, maintenance and cleaning), introducing paid parking. More information about cuts can be found in the 3-page explainer.

Scenario 2 – Reduce services

  • An increase in rates of 18% every year for three years. This would be a cumulative rate increase of 64%
  • For an average ratepayer this would be an increase in year one of $229 per annum or $4.40 extra per week, in year two this would be another increase of $270 per annum or $5.20 per week and in year three another increase of $319 per annum and $6.15 per week.
  • These increases would maintain our core services only and deplete the asset base. We will need a strategy to reduce expenses by $5.5 million each year.
  • Under all scenarios we will improve asset renewal for gravel and sealed roads, sporting facilities, parks and amenities.
  • Savings could include increasing fees at The Q, reducing community funding by 50%, cutting heritage grants, only keeping one pool and stopping development of new sports and aquatic facilities, increasing fees, reducing urban amenities (street sweeping, mowing, maintenance and cleaning), and introducing paid parking. More information about cuts can be found in the 3-page explainer.

Scenario 3 – Maintain services

  • An increase in rates of 28%, 25% and 23% (three years of increases). This would be a cumulative increase of 97%
  • For an average ratepayer this would be an increase in year one of $356 per annum or $6.85 extra per week, in year two this would be another increase of $407 per annum or $7.85 per week and in year three another increase of $468 per annum and $9.00 per week.
  • These increases allow us to maintain our current services.
  • Under all scenarios we will improve asset renewal for gravel and sealed roads, sporting facilities, parks and amenities.
  • There would be an additional $100 pensioner rebate for the whole LGA.
  • New environmental programs would receive $1.3 million per year.
  • Renewed infrastructure – community facilities, footpaths and pools would receive $1.9 million per year.
  • Expanded infrastructure for growth and to match 1:1 grant opportunities would receive $400k per year (e.g. footpath extensions)

As part of this process, we have updated both our Long-Term Financial Plan (LTFP) 2022-32 and Delivery Program 2022-26 to reflect these scenarios. These documents are available in the document library.

Information available to explain the rate scenarios

All these documents are available in the document library (found to the right on a computer or scroll down on a mobile device). They are also at our Customer Service Offices and Libraries in Braidwood, Bungendore and Queanbeyan and the Queanbeyan Library.

Submissions will be accepted until 4.30pm on 31 January 2023 and can be made in the following ways:

  • By submitting your comments online below
  • By email to council@qprc.nsw.gov.au (referencing ‘SRV and Long Term Financial Plan’ in the subject line)
  • By mail to PO Box 90, Queanbeyan NSW 2620
  • Delivered in person to one of Council’s offices

Update 12 January 2023 - Online calculator

Now that the NSW Valuer General has release new land values, we have an online rate calculator to help rate payers better understand the effect of the proposed increases to rates on their property.

The calculator is a great way to see how property value can affect your rate - and how a large increase in property value does not necessarily equal a large increase in your rates bill. Where some property values increased substantially more than others – their share of the total rate will increase.

The rate calculator uses new land values determined by the NSW Valuer General to show an indicative general rate for your property under each of the rate variation scenarios Council is considering.

You can access the rate calculator via this link

Background

To address Council’s long-term financial sustainability, we have notified the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) that we are considering applying for a special rate variation (a rate increase). You can provide feedback on this proposal until 31 January 2023.

How did we get here?

The income we receive is less than the expenses we have. This has been the case for a number of years.

Both the former Palerang Council and Queanbeyan City Council were considering options to increase revenue before the merger that created QPRC.

Following the merger, legislation was in place that stopped us from raising rates for four years or reducing expenses by consolidating offices or staff.

While we were able to improve and build new infrastructure with funding we received from the merger, we haven’t been able to address the income we receive. Rates increases have been limited to the rate peg set by the IPART, which has not met the increased costs of providing services.

The costs of construction and materials for new projects, and for infrastructure renewal continue to increase. We also have significant population growth (at 1.9% per year) and the costs of expanded services is increasing more than the income received from additional rate payers.

What have we done to save money?

We are making $2.2m in annual savings, however since the merger our service levels and other costs have increased which has used all of these savings.

We have made budget decisions in recent years to reduce costs; in 2022 this included more than $2m in one-off adjustments via a 5% reduction in our materials and services budget, and deferring recruitment.

We asked independent financial experts Morrison Low to undertake an independent financial assessment of Council to ensure we provide value for ratepayers and to minimise the rate rise.

What will the rate rise look like?

The rate rise only applies to the general rate charge. This is the base rate and land value (or ad valorem) charge on your rates notice. It does not apply to garbage or general waste, sewerage, stormwater, or water access charges.

We are considering three scenarios for rates increases. Two scenarios propose making significant operational savings, partly through service cuts. The rate rise scenarios include the rate peg of 4.6% in year one and 2.5% in years two and three. This means that all figures are inclusive and will not change if IPART increase or reduce the rate peg in the next three years. In each of the following scenarios the annual rates increases are permanent and cumulative and in year four and future years the rate peg percentage increase will apply to the new higher rate levels. The scenarios are as follows:

Scenario 1 – Significantly reduce services

  • An increase in rates of 12% every year for three years. This would be a cumulative rate increase of 41%
  • For an average ratepayer this would be an increase in year one of $129 per annum or $2.50 extra per week, in year two this would be another increase of $144 per annum or $2.80 per week and in year three another increase of $161 per annum and $3.10 per week.
  • These increases do not fund Council operations and require a strategy to reduce expenses by $12 million each year.
  • Under all scenarios we will improve asset renewal for gravel and sealed roads, sporting facilities, parks and amenities.
  • Savings could include selling off The Q, stopping funding to all community facilities and activities, cutting heritage grants, closing aquatic centres and stopping developments of new sports and aquatic facilities, increasing fees, significantly reducing urban amenities (street sweeping, mowing, maintenance and cleaning), introducing paid parking. More information about cuts can be found in the 3-page explainer.

Scenario 2 – Reduce services

  • An increase in rates of 18% every year for three years. This would be a cumulative rate increase of 64%
  • For an average ratepayer this would be an increase in year one of $229 per annum or $4.40 extra per week, in year two this would be another increase of $270 per annum or $5.20 per week and in year three another increase of $319 per annum and $6.15 per week.
  • These increases would maintain our core services only and deplete the asset base. We will need a strategy to reduce expenses by $5.5 million each year.
  • Under all scenarios we will improve asset renewal for gravel and sealed roads, sporting facilities, parks and amenities.
  • Savings could include increasing fees at The Q, reducing community funding by 50%, cutting heritage grants, only keeping one pool and stopping development of new sports and aquatic facilities, increasing fees, reducing urban amenities (street sweeping, mowing, maintenance and cleaning), and introducing paid parking. More information about cuts can be found in the 3-page explainer.

Scenario 3 – Maintain services

  • An increase in rates of 28%, 25% and 23% (three years of increases). This would be a cumulative increase of 97%
  • For an average ratepayer this would be an increase in year one of $356 per annum or $6.85 extra per week, in year two this would be another increase of $407 per annum or $7.85 per week and in year three another increase of $468 per annum and $9.00 per week.
  • These increases allow us to maintain our current services.
  • Under all scenarios we will improve asset renewal for gravel and sealed roads, sporting facilities, parks and amenities.
  • There would be an additional $100 pensioner rebate for the whole LGA.
  • New environmental programs would receive $1.3 million per year.
  • Renewed infrastructure – community facilities, footpaths and pools would receive $1.9 million per year.
  • Expanded infrastructure for growth and to match 1:1 grant opportunities would receive $400k per year (e.g. footpath extensions)

As part of this process, we have updated both our Long-Term Financial Plan (LTFP) 2022-32 and Delivery Program 2022-26 to reflect these scenarios. These documents are available in the document library.

Information available to explain the rate scenarios

All these documents are available in the document library (found to the right on a computer or scroll down on a mobile device). They are also at our Customer Service Offices and Libraries in Braidwood, Bungendore and Queanbeyan and the Queanbeyan Library.

Submissions will be accepted until 4.30pm on 31 January 2023 and can be made in the following ways:

  • By submitting your comments online below
  • By email to council@qprc.nsw.gov.au (referencing ‘SRV and Long Term Financial Plan’ in the subject line)
  • By mail to PO Box 90, Queanbeyan NSW 2620
  • Delivered in person to one of Council’s offices
Page last updated: 23 Jan 2023, 07:52 AM