Shellharbour rate rise well supported: survey

Almost 60 per cent of Shellharbour ratepayers supported a rate increase above the rate peg amount of 3.4 per cent, according to a survey released yesterday.

Shellharbour City Council commissioned IRIS Research to conduct the survey, which found 40 per cent of residents supported a 6.7 per cent rate increase while 19.4 per cent of respondents were prepared to pay 9.3 per cent more.

When asked why they supported an increase above the rate cap, residents said it was reasonable and affordable.

The residents who did not support rates increasing above the rate cap cited The Hub and Marina or golf course as two areas to cut council funding.

Ratepayers were also asked if they thought their rates provided value for money: 20 per cent of ratepayers thought their rates were poor or very poor value; while 32 per cent thought their rates provided good or very good value.

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Mayor Marianne Saliba said the survey confirmed some of what council already knew.

‘‘Everyone wants better roads, stormwater drainage and improved footpaths while we retain our current level of services,’’ she said.

‘‘The only way we can achieve this is to increase our income and unfortunately that means we need to raise our rate charges.

"We are in the very difficult position of needing to spend $18 million during the next four years and $8 million each year after that to bring our infrastructure up to the recommended standard of the Department of Local Government.

"We do not currently have the financial resources to deliver everything that the community has told us it wants all at the same time without increasing income.’’

Councillors will consider the rate variation at the council meeting on Tuesday.

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