Shellharbour City Council has been granted one of the highest overall rate rises in the state - and one way above what it is now.
The overall rise of 6.2 per cent for the 2024-25 rates period sits in fifth place, behind only Camden (with the highest rise of 8.2 per cent), Blacktown, Lockhart Shire Council and Hills Council in northwest Sydney.
It's also well above the current overall rise granted to the council of 3.7 per cent.
By comparison, Kiama Municipal Council's overall 2024-25 increase will be 4.5 per cent, lower than the current 5.1 per cent, while Wollongong's climbs from 3.7 per cent to 5 per cent.
The increase - known as a rate peg - is set by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) and is not the same as a rate rise, which is set by the individual councils.
Shellharbour's 6.2 per cent peg means that is the maximum amount it can increase its total rates revenue collected across the city, not the maximum it can increase individual rates - which could be more or less than the 6.2 per cent figure.
"The rate peg represents the maximum percentage amount by which a council may increase its general income," IPART Chair Carmel Donnelly said.
"It applies to each council's general income in total, not to individual ratepayers' rates.
"Councils may increase categories of rates by more or less than the rate peg, provided the total increase in general income remains within the rate peg."
It is designed to allow councils to get the money needed to meet its costs while not allowing it to collect any more than that.
Shellharbour was one of 49 councils in NSW that had a population factor used to calculate their overall rate peg.
IPART said that meant it would be able to spread the larger increase in general income among the increased number of ratepayers, reducing the impact on existing ratepayers.
"These rate pegs are based on employee cost increases, forecast inflation and council-specific changes in Emergency Services Levy contributions and population growth," Ms Donnelly said.
In terms of likely actual rate increases, IPART said it expected those to be roughly in line with the "core rate peg", which is the rate before population is factored in.
In the case of Shellharbour, that core peg is 4.6 per cent, while Kiama had no population growth factored in and so remained at 4.5 per cent.
Wollongong's core peg, and the likely amount of any individual rate increase, is 4.7 per cent.
It is the first time IPART has used a new method of calculating the rate peg, after Wollongong City Council and others criticised the previous approach for not keeping pace with expenses.
"We have implemented the new methodology this year because it will produce rate pegs that more accurately reflect the increase in costs for each council," Ms Donnelly said.
"We understand ratepayers across the State are facing cost-of-living pressures including the affordability of council rates.
"The new methodology we have applied will better account for the diversity among NSW councils and help ensure ratepayers contribute only to costs relevant to their local government area."
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