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Rate rise options

What are the rate rise options?

Under the Single Year scenario, ratepayers would pay more up front but less over time. Council would achieve a balanced budget in one year. We would be able to immediately deliver improvements to our services.

All figures are inclusive of the 2.5% rate cap and are permanent in nature.

Single Year Scenario – Average Impact on Individual Rating Categories (PDF 81 KB)

Under the Independent Recommendation scenario, ratepayers pay less each year but more over time. Council would reach its target budget in 3 years and the community would see a gradual enhancement of services.

This option is recommended by independent experts Professor Brian Dollery and Professor Joseph Drew.

All figures are inclusive of the 2.5% rate cap and are permanent in nature.

Independent Recommendation Scenario – Average Impact on Individual Rating Categories (PDF 85 KB)

Under the base scenario, Council will not be financially sustainable. The income we get will not cover what we need to spend to deliver services as they currently are. Our assets will deteriorate and we will look at reducing or ceasing services. This might mean more potholes as our road network deteriorates further, shorter hours at our facilities,  longer processing times for customer requests/applications, and fewer community events.

If this is the path forward, Council and the community would have future conversations to understand what services the community is prepared to see reduced or stopped.

The areas that Council wouldn’t look at reducing to make savings are those that:

  • make money for council for example our holiday parks and child care centres
  • we are required to provide by legislation for example DA approvals
  • provide community safety for example animal control or broken play equipment

Base Scenario - current situation – Average Impact on Individual Rating Categories (PDF 79 KB)

Use the rates calculator to find out an estimate of your land rates under each option.

View or download our Rate rise options fact sheet for a printable version.

Proposed additional affordability measures

These additional measures are being considered as part of the proposed special rate variation in order mitigate the impact of a rate increase to those ratepayers who may experience financial stress.

  1. Increase the scope of the Rates Assistance Program to include pensioners to a limit of $250 and increase the limit for non-pensioners to $500.
    The current limit is $250 per non-pensioner ratepayer per annum. There is potential to increase the individual ratepayer assistance limit to $500 for non-pensioner ratepayers and introduce a $250 limit for pensioner ratepayers. This higher level of assistance might encourage more ratepayers experiencing financial hardship to seek to take up assistance under the program.
  2. Increase the scope of the Fees and Charges financial assistance to include waste charges reduction for koala carers, in addition to ratepayers with medical conditions that result in a large amount of waste.
    This kind of financial assistance has been offered in the past however, this change would look to formalise the financial assistance to koala carers who require an additional waste service for their volunteer activities, in addition to ratepayers with medical conditions.
  3. Increase the scope of the Debt Recovery and Hardship Policy to include a mechanism, within appropriate parameters, for referral of financial hardship matters to Council in the event of a significant event affecting Port Stephens primary producers.
    The Debt Recovery and Hardship Policy could potentially include a clause to invoke referral to Council of hardship considerations for primary producers in the event of a natural disaster such as storm, flood, bushfires or disease outbreak. It is envisaged a report to Council would quantify the financial impacts and propose a response feasible within financial constraints.
  4. Increase the debt balance threshold for commencement of legal action from $1,200 to $1,400.
    The current processes are working satisfactorily, with the notice periods ratepayers are generally unsurprised at the commencement of legal action should it be required. No change to processes or timeframes proposed. It is proposed to increase the legal action commencement threshold from $1,200 to $1,400 to mirror increases in legal costs, rates and charges.