What is a Special Rate Variation (SRV)?

    Through its rate-pegging policy, each year the NSW government determines the percentage figure councils can increase their general rate income.  If a council wants to apply for a larger increase a Special Rates Variation application needs to be lodged with the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART).

    What is a Rate Peg?

    The rate peg is the maximum percentage amount a council can increase its income from rates. Council’s requiring additional revenue can apply to IPART (explained below) to be allowed to levy increases above the rate peg.

    How does Council work out what rates to charge each resident?

    Council sets its budget for services and capital works, subtracts expected income and then sets its rates. However, it must limit its spending to what it can afford within the rate cap. Council then spreads the number of rates payable amongst property owners via a pre-determined formula based on land values.

    How will the proposed SRV impact my rates?

    If the preferred option is approved, the SRV will increase your 2022/23 general rates bill by 24% in 2023/24 and a further 23 % in 2024/25.

    Why do we need to increase our rates?

    To make Council financially viable. The cost of services and compliance requirements have increased. It is also anticipated Council will receive less capital grants into future. Therefore, Council requires more rate revenue to maintain services and a reasonable level of capital works

    What is the alternative to the proposed rate increases?

    If the proposed rate increases do not eventuate, a reduction in services and the capital works program would need to occur. For council to be financially sustainable in the long term it must achieve at least a break-even result in its general fund.  If Council does not get to this position, it will not be able to deliver the current service levels and potentially not undertake the timely renewal of essential infrastructure like roads, sporting fields, playgrounds and community facilities such as the Aquatic Center, Leeton Museum & Gallery, Roxy Theatre and the Library

    What other measures has council taken to address its financial situation?

    Council has identified and implemented improvement strategies that provide savings and efficiency gains including:

    • Implementation of the Energy Master Plan, providing infrastructure to actively reduce Council’s energy consumption expenses. Solar arrays located at Council administration building, Library, Multipurpose Centre, Depot, and Aquatic Centre - $20,000 p.a.
    • Organisational restructure to achieve operational alignment) – productivity gains $195,000 p.a.
    • Reduction of employee lease back vehicles
    • Smart Meter Implementation – reduction in resource costs
    • Reduction of Internal Audits costs through outsourcing - $60,000 p.a.
    • Revenue from asset sales via rationalisation and integration of land and buildings
    • Reduction in costs through renegotiation of software, telecommunications, and energy contracts
    • Cost savings through LED Lighting Replacements - Office Buildings, Sporting Facilities, and Street Lighting – 30% saving

    Council will continue to investigate and realise all cost saving opportunities; however, cost savings alone will not be sufficient to make Council financially viable.

    Can staff be more efficient to help keep our rates lower?

    Staff are working efficiently and continue reviewing work practices to optimise work practices. It is important to note compliance requirements have become more onerous requiring additional staffing costs.

    Can you get more funding from other levels of government to help pay for things?

    Funding from other levels of government is not known into the future.  In the past Leeton has been successful in attracting capital funding, however funding is expected to fall as grants are currently directed towards current disaster areas such as northeastern NSW.

    Who is IPART and what do they do?

    IPART are the independent pricing regulator for water, energy, public transport and Local Government. They set the allowable rate cap and approve any Special Rate variations. IPART will either approve or nor approve this SRV

    Does the SRV affect other charges which appear on my Rate Bill?

    No. The SRV does not affect service charges such as water, sewer, Waste and Stormwater Drainage. It is only applied to the General Rate line on your bill

    How do I have my say?

    Council will seek feedback from the community on the SRV and its updated Long Term Financial Plan from 29 September to 9 November 2022.

    More information is available at https://haveyoursay.leeton.nsw.gov.au/special-rate-variation

    The community is encouraged to provide feedback to Council in any of the following ways:

    ELECTRONICALLY: Complete the survey on Council’s ‘Have Your Say’ online engagement portal at https://haveyoursay.leeton.nsw.gov.au/special-rate-variation

    BY EMAIL TO: council@leeton.nsw.gov.au

    BY LETTER: Address to the General Manager, 23–25 Chelmsford Place, Leeton NSW 2705.  

    Submissions must be received by Council by 5pm on Wednesday 9 November 2022.

    Community information sessions will also be held in October.