13 December 2022

Drop in or log on to have your say on Snowy Monaro Council rate variation

| Katrina Condie
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snowy monaro paddock

Residents and ratepayers are invited to have their say on a possible rate increase. Photo: Snowy Monaro Regional Council.

Snowy Monaro residents will have an opportunity to learn more about the council’s Special Rate Variation (SRV) at a series of face-to-face and online sessions.

Consultation on the potential rate change is well underway, with hundreds of community and ratepayer responses already submitted through the Snowy Monaro Regional Council’s Your Say platform.

Residents have until Sunday, 22 January, 2023, to complete the online survey to have their say on the three rating options, which include a 55.25 per cent hike spread over five years.

Any potential SRV would impact every ratepayer in the Snowy Monaro region, as well as tenants who rent property from them.

Residents can talk to council staff about the SRV at one of two Draft Land Use Strategies and draft Local Environmental Plan drop-in sessions on Wednesday, 14 December.

The first session will be held from 11 am to 1 pm at the Cooma Centennial Plaza and the second will run from 4 pm until 6 pm at the Adaminaby School of Arts.

“If you’ve got questions, concerns or just want to speak with us, drop in and see our expert staff, leadership team and councillors,” a council spokesperson said.

“To be sure we’re making the right decision – the decision that our community and ratepayers want – we need to hear from you.”

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Two SRV-dedicated online information sessions will also be held in the new year ahead of the survey closing date. The first will be held on Tuesday, 10 January, 2023, from 5:30 pm to 7 pm and the second on Wednesday, 18 January, from 7 pm until 8:30 pm.

Following an independent analysis of its financial position and ongoing service reviews, the council decided that a rate increase was long overdue to ensure it could become financially sustainable while maintaining service levels over the long term.

At an Extraordinary Meeting on 24 November, 2022, the council decided to proceed with notifying the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) that it intended to apply for a permanent SRV.

The additional revenue will be used to fund existing services as well as maintain roads, bridges and stormwater infrastructure, operating community buildings and investment in asset management capability.

If the SRV is not approved by IPART, the council will need to implement service-level reductions totalling $28.8 million over the next 10 years. Services will need to be discontinued, roads and buildings will continue to deteriorate, and unsafe facilities will be closed so that necessary funds can be redirected to keep essential infrastructure safe and functional.

Three rating options are on the table.

Option 1 is a 53 per cent rate increase to be paid in 2023/24. This will enable an additional investment of $64.3m in asset renewal to stabilise the current infrastructure backlog and to undertake additional renewal and maintenance of roads and other community assets.

Option 2 is a 55.25 per cent rate increase spread over five years, starting from 2023/24, which will enable an additional staged investment of $51.1m in asset renewal to stabilise the current infrastructure backlog and to undertake additional renewal and maintenance of roads and other community assets.

Option 3 is to implement no SRV, with only the rate peg increase, which is set by the State Government.

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Councillor Lynda Summers said an “enormous amount of work” had been undertaken to put the options together for the public to consider.

“There’s no easy path in making these decisions,” she said.

“It’s a simple matter of budgeting … we either invest in our community assets with rates and the services that are being screamed for, or we don’t and then something has to give.

“If we do nothing then the roads will continue to deteriorate, the community assets owned by ratepayers will continue to deteriorate. [But] then we also have options for everyone to invest in our community to ensure those assets are maintained.”

Visit www.yoursaysnowymonaro.com.au/special-rate-variation to play your part in the future of the region.

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