Residents to pay $8M more after 42.1 per cent rate rise
The Peninsula is facing a 42.1 per cent rate rise after the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal has given approval for a 15 per cent "special variation" rate rise requested by former Central Coast Council administrator Mr Dick Persson.
The other 27.1 per cent will come from equalising the rate applied in the Gosford and Wyong areas, in a process labelled "harmonisation".
The rate rise equates to an average increase of $423 per dwelling - around an extra $8 million to be paid by Peninsula residents.
Peninsula businesses will face an even steeper rise - 50.2 per cent, equating to an average increase of $1557.
The Tribunal stated: "It is a matter for each council to determine how it allocates any increase across different categories of ratepayer.
"We note that the council has indicated it intends to harmonise rates from 1 July 2021, which means movements in rates due to the harmonisation will coincide with the increase due to the special variation."
It said that the council application had "largely demonstrated" a "reasonable impact on ratepayers".
"The council's average rates are currently lower than most comparable and neighbouring councils.
"However, we note that due to the simultaneous harmonisation of rates, the impacts on ratepayers are varied and in some cases substantial."
But it also noted: "The council's revised Delivery Program and Operational Plan omitted a 'no rate rise' alternative scenario and did not consider the community's capacity to pay.
"The council has proposed significant cost reduction strategies that need to be proven over time as it does not have a good track record of delivering savings."
The Tribunal said: "We decided to approve a temporary special variation of 15 per cent in 2021-22, which is to be retained for three years and then removed.
"During this three-year period, the council will be able to implement its proposed business recovery plan, (and) consult with its ratepayers regarding appropriate service levels."
In handing down its decision, the Tribunal defended its role in supporting the amalgamation in its original assessment.
It stated that the assessment of the amalgamation proposal found that the former Gosford City and Wyong Shire councils satisfied the overall financial criteria for amalgamation at that time.
"The council's failure to correctly recognise its financial position at the beginning of amalgamation was the primary cause of its current financial difficulties, not the amalgamation itself."
Website, 17 May 2021