Warrnambool City Council is considering jacking up rates beyond the state government’s cap for the next four years, claiming it needs extra cash to maintain services. Councillors will tonight vote on a recommendation to seek approval for extra rates income.
The move has infuriated the city’s ratepayers’ group, with president Brian Kelson saying council needed to be able to work within the constraints of rate capping.
“Why should ratepayers be burdened with these increases because of the failure or council to reign in costs?” he asked. “This is totally unacceptable and unsustainable.”
The council is proposing to notify the Essential Services Commission of its intention to request higher rate increases from 2019 to 2023 to help maintaining its financial sustainability, service levels and renewing assets. The council report said the community was calling for more and better services.
It said an extra two per cent rate increase would generate an additional $640,000 which would be spread across 16,950 rateable assessments in Warrnambool.
“In order to maintain the same breadth and level of services council needs to develop a mix of strategies to respond to increasing cost pressures,” the report said.
“These measures include the reduction of costs, the development of innovation to deliver existing services, the introduction of new technologies to streamline service provision, seeking new income streams and seeking to alter the rate cap to provide additional income.”