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Jerilderie Shire rate opposition

Despite Jerilderie Shire Council receiving 23 official submissions in relation to a proposed rate increase, it could still go ahead.

SOPHIE BURGE July 2, 2014 3:25am

Jerilderie Shire Council is not yet discounting a seven per cent rate increase from July next year, despite receiving 23 official submissions against the move.

The letters of opposition were received during public exhibition of the 2014/2015 Operation Plan, which sets in place the rate capped 2.3 per cent increase for the next 12 months.

Jerilderie Shire general manager Craig Moffitt said the community responses will be taken in to account, but said there’s still time to gauge community opinion on the special rates increase.

‘‘There’s no telling yet what effect the submissions will have on council’s decision on the rate increase proposal, which will take effect in July 2015,’’ Mr Moffitt said.

‘‘We have just commenced the community consultation required, which is be completed in time for a potential application to the minister before the end of February.

‘‘Ratepayers should be aware that this is only the beginning of the process.

‘‘Before a final decision is made on rate increases to commence on July 1 2015, council will need to have a clear record of the level of support for the proposal.

‘‘All current and future submissions will be taken into consideration when dealing with this matter up until the date for submission to the Minister for approval in February 2015.’’

Despite the submissions against the seven per cent increase, Mr Moffitt maintains they will be necessary to ensure services can continue to be delivered.

Mr Moffitt said the rate increase would allow the council to ‘‘catch up’’ after 25 years of low or no rate increases being adopted.

He said council’s financial stress has exacerbated by the Federal Government’s decision to freeze any Financial Assistance Grant increased for the next three years.

‘‘The Federal Government’s decision to freeze Financial Assistance Grants will have a compounding effect on council’s consideration of its income stream,’’ Mr Moffitt said.

‘‘Council’s prime objective is that there be no reduction in service levels and asset maintenance standards, despite expected reduction in income.’’

Mr Moffitt said council is still working on a public consultation timetable to further discuss the proposed special rate increases for 2015/2016 and 2016/2017, which could see ratepayers paying up to 20 per cent extra in rates. A survey is also being considered.

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