Central Coast Council has announced rates will remain at current levels, following the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) approval of its 2022 Special Variation.
The IPART has determined Council rates will remain the same for an additional seven years, equalling ten years in total to 2031, as it recovers from its financial crisis.
Central Coast Council Administrator, Rik Hart, said that IPART’s determination supporting the continuation of Central Coast Council’s current rate structure for a further seven years is a sensible decision.
“This outcome allows Council to continue to maintain current service levels, comply with current banking requirements and most importantly, allows us to continue without interruption our ten-year long-term financial plan, that provides long-term financial stability for the organisation,” Mr Hart said.
“It’s a decision that factors in the unique situation this Council was in, and the recommendation made by the Public Inquiry Commissioner ‘for the Administrator to ensure the completion of the Business Recovery Plan as adopted and amended by Central Coast Council since October 2020’.
“It has taken time, but we now have two independent entities on the same page.
“We’ve achieved one of the most significant financial turnarounds of any organisation in under 12 months, with the current and forecasted surpluses repaying the emergency loans over the next ten years.
Mr Hart said for the community, this is a continuation of the current rates they pay with the exception of the rate peg, as determined by IPART every year.
“Now that we finally have an outcome, I have requested the CEO and senior staff to examine services where we’re not delivering to community expectations and reflect this in future operational plans for an incoming Council to consider,” Mr Hart said.
“I encourage the community to review the draft plan when it goes on public exhibition. Now is the time to provide feedback on where you want to see improved service levels,” Mr Hart said.
Central Coast Council CEO, David Farmer, said this major milestone will draw a line under the Council’s financial crisis, and the organisation can focus on consolidating and improving the performance of the organisation.
“We are currently performing better than budget, with a high level of position vacancies, but we know this is causing difficulty in our delivery of services to our customers in a number of areas,” Mr Farmer said.
“Now that we have longer-term stability for our rates revenue, we can carefully reinvest in services where we are not currently meeting community expectations of service levels, for example into our vast road network and vegetation management.
“I recognise this has been a difficult time for the community, and I thank you for your patience, understanding, and for your comments and contributions about what needs to be done to improve Council and services.”
The Draft Long Term Financial Plan and Delivery Program will be considered in the Ordinary Council Meeting on 24 May 2022 to be placed on Public Exhibition for comment here.