Council rates could rise again

Penrith Mayor Ross Fowler
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Your rates could be increasing from the next financial year.

At a meeting on Monday night, Penrith Council gave the go-ahead to apply for another Special Rate Variation (SRV) from the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal, IPART.

“It’s going to add a considerable amount of money to the bottom line of Council,” Deputy Mayor Ross Fowler said.

“Councillor Cornish wants six new car parks, Councillor Crameri wants pot holes fixed. We don’t want to put the burden back on rate payers, we are deferring the burden of ratepayers in the future.”

Council’s application is to renew the AREAS SRV plus add an additional SRV phased in over four years.

In 2016-17, the SRV is proposed to be 9.09 per cent and include the renewal of AREAS and the standard annual rate peg.

Then in 2017-18 it will increase by five per cent, then 5.2 per cent in 2018-19 and 5.4 per cent in 2019-20, with a cumulative increase of 27 per cent over four years.

This will increase the average rate by $1.06 per week in the first year, with a cumulative increase of $3.71 per week over the four years.

Councillor Kevin Crameri and Councillor Marcus Cornish did not support the increase, that once phased in, will be a permanent increase to rates.

Cr Crameri said a rate rise will be charging residents for something they’ve already paid for, and Cr Cornish suggested Council should have a look at its own internal departments to cut costs.

Penrith Councillor Kevin Crameri
Penrith Councillor Kevin Crameri

Cr Cornish’s view was reiterated by one of Council’s community panel members, Shane Bryant, who denied the panel ever recommended to apply for an SRV.

“That was pushed by Council the first day we met. We didn’t recommend we do any of that,” he said.

“Because we are not accountants we had a hard time deciphering [the SRV] in the report.

“We weren’t suggesting they put an SRV on rates.”

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