Shellharbour councillor wants base rate slashed

Shellharbour councillor Peter Moran believes lowering the council's base rate will see most ratepayers better off. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

Shellharbour councillor Peter Moran believes lowering the council's base rate will see most ratepayers better off. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

Shellharbour City councillor Peter Moran wants to slash the council's base rate to pre-administration levels, making 70 per cent of ratepayers better off.

Shellharbour council's 2014-15 budget, which is now on exhibition, is proposing a base rate of 45 per cent, or $552.50.

The base rate is paid by all Shellharbour ratepayers. How much more they pay on top of that depends on land values.

The council previously had a base rate component of 25 per cent, which rose to 45 per cent under administrator David Jesson. His decision was made in part to lessen the burden on pensioners who lived long-term in modest homes in beachfront suburbs where land values had increased dramatically.

Under Cr Moran's proposal, ratepayers who own a property with a land value of $150,000 would pay $1015.32 next year and be $56.65 better off, while a property owner with land valued at $400,000 would pay $2195.94 - $258.20 more than now proposed.

In total, about 14,000 ratepayers across Shellharbour would be better off, while 7000 would be worse off, Cr Moran said.

"It is a social justice issue," Cr Moran said.

"The people who have greater assets are better able to afford this increase in rates we are imposing on the community.

"We are putting in a series of rate rises that equates to an increase of 44 per cent over four years.

"Lowering the base rate will make it easier to afford for people who live in properties below the average and it won't change the council's bottom line whatsoever."

Earlier this month the council gave a commitment to revisit the base rate after the budget was adopted; however Cr Moran said the council already had all the information it needed to act now.

Kiama, Shoalhaven and Wollongong councils have residential base rates of 50 per cent.

Shellharbour council's proposed operational budget for 2014-15 includes expenditure of $79.3 million.

The Special Rate Variation (SRV) of 9 per cent this year will help fund the $4.6 million in asset renewal works including $3.6 million for upgrades to 26 roads including Pur Pur Avenue, Landy Drive in Mount Warrigal, Industrial Road in Oak Flats and Parklands Drive, Shellharbour.

A further $600,000 will go towards upgrading buildings and amenities across the city, including the Roo Theatre, Oakley Park Hall in Warilla and Yovelton House in Albion Park Rail.

The draft budget is on public exhibition until June 2.

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