Have your say on rate rise scenarios

28 November 2022

Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council is inviting community input into three scenarios to address Council’s financial sustainability.

Two weeks ago, Mayor Kenrick Winchester issued a statement about Council’s financial sustainability and how QPRC had reached this point.

Mayor Winchester noted that both the former Palerang Council and Queanbeyan City Council were considering options to raise their revenue before the merger.

He said, ‘While we were able to make infrastructure improvements and build new infrastructure with the funding we received after the merger and other grants, the merged Council was not permitted to raise rates for four years.’

‘The rate increases set by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal through the rate peg don’t come close to meeting the costs of doing everything the community expects from us.’

The Mayor added ‘It’s now really important that we have this conversation with the community about Council services and how they will be funded into the future.’

‘We are asking you to be involved in the conversation about the services we provide and the potential rate rise scenarios.’

QPRC General Manager Rebecca Ryan said ‘We have explored three rate rise scenarios which affect the general rate. This proposal does not include waste, sewerage, stormwater, or water access charges.’

‘Each scenario shows what type of services Council would be able to provide under a specific rate rise. All three rate rise scenarios include enough funds that ensures Council’s assets like roads, stormwater and buildings are maintained appropriately, however two scenarios involve significant service cuts.’

The three scenarios are:

  • Significantly Reduce Services: Rates increase by 12% a year for 3 years. This is a cumulative increase of 41%. This scenario does not fully fund current Council operations and will require a strategy to find immediate savings of $12 million each year. This kind of saving may include privatising or selling The Q, stopping funding to all community halls, facilities and activities, cutting heritage grants, closing pools and stopping development of new sports and aquatic facilities, increasing fees, closing libraries, customer service centres and depots at Bungendore and Braidwood, significantly reducing urban amenities (street sweeping, mowing, maintenance and cleaning), reducing the number of Councillors, removing the additional pensioner rebate, and introducing paid parking.
  • Reduce Services: Rates increase by 18% a year for 3 years. This is a cumulative increase of 64%. This scenario involves a reduction of non-core services and.5.5 million worth of savings must be found each year. Savings could include significantly increasing fees at The Q, reducing community funding by 50%, cutting heritage grants, only keeping one pool and stopping development of new sports and aquatics facilities, increasing fees, reducing urban amenities (street sweeping, mowing, maintenance, and cleaning), reducing number of Councillors, removing additional pensioner rebate, and introducing paid parking.
  • Maintain Services: Rates increase by 28% in year one, 25% in year two and 23% in year 3. This is a cumulative increase of 97%. This scenario fully funds the current levels of service. It provides $400,000 per year towards expanded infrastructure and taking advantage of grants that require 1:1 funding, along with $1.9m per year to renew infrastructure like community facilities, footpaths and pools. This scenario provides for an additional pensioner rebate of $100 for eligible pensioners across the local government area. It also allows for $1.3 million towards new environmental programs.

Rebecca concluded ‘We are one of the largest employers in the region and it’s our job to provide excellent services and high-quality facilities.’

‘Council makes a real difference in the lives of people in Queanbeyan-Palerang and it is important that you give us feedback about what matters to you.’

Have your say until 31 January 2023.

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