Council foreshadows special rate variation post-freeze which would see rates increase

Residents in Queanbeyan could see an increase to rates to help pay for major infrastructure projects. Photo: Elliot Williams
Residents in Queanbeyan could see an increase to rates to help pay for major infrastructure projects. Photo: Elliot Williams

The Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council has foreshadowed applying for a special rate variation in the 2020-21 financial year that could see a larger than usual increase to rates.

At a recent council meeting it was announced rates would increase by 2.3 per cent in 2018-19. This is in line with the rate peg limit that council is bound by following the merger.

The overall rate base will be increased by 2.3 per cent delivering an additional $808,000 to the council.

However a council spokesman advised this amount was absorbed by increases to staff award costs and material and contract cost increases.

Of the 1406 council fees and charges, 16 are proposed to increase by greater than 2.3 per cent.

The spokesman said the special rate variation would be to cover raising debt for major projects like the Queanbeyan CBD transformation, adding parking to Bungendore and Braidwood, and sporting facilities across the region.

It is understood that an increase to rates could be applied by different amounts across the local government area.

For instance Queanbeyan residents and businesses may be charged a higher rate amount than those in Palerang to pay for the substantial CBD redevelopment.

The spokesman said it was too early to determine at what percentage the special rate variation would be applied.

He said it would be dependent on what projects were progressed by council, how much funding council receives through grants and any leases entered into by council in new facilities.

The rate variation would be subject to community consultation and a determination from the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal.

The spokesman refused to blame the council merger and subsequent rate freeze for the potential increase in rates.

He said both the former councils had flagged potential rate increases in their long term financial plans.

He added the council would only increase rates to support new or expanded services or fund renewed or upgraded infrastructure.

This story Rates set to increase after freeze first appeared on The Queanbeyan Age.