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Council Rates to Skyrocket
Wednesday, 06 January 2010

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Sutherland Shire Council is planning to almost triple rate increases for the next 5 years to
address a $21 million budget shortfall.

What's Planned

Shortly, before the Christmas break Council distributed a brochure to residential homes (Infrastructure Levy - The Facts) outlining the reasons for the unprecedented increases. In addition, to the normal 3.5% yearly rate increases Council plans to levy an additional 6% increase for the next 5 years bringing the increases to 9.5% annually.

Council's case for the special levy is to fund upgrading aging infrastructure such as the Entertainment Centre and older toilet blocks across Sutherland Shire. However, there will be new infrastructure in the form of fire stations for Bundeena and Menai as well as plans to not to sell the Croydon Street public car park in Cronulla which had already been budgeted for sale. Overall, there will be $30 million in new spending over the 5 years.

Here are the projects specifically planned for the Bundeena Maianbar area over the next 5 years totalling $423,000 :

  • Bundeena Tennis Courts ($5,000 in 2012/13)
  • Bundeena Memorial Reserve ($8,000 in 2012/13)
  • Bundeena Oval ($6,000 in 2012/13)
  • Bundeena Relocation - New Station Construction ($400,000 in 2010/11 & 2011/12)
  • Maianbar Community Centre ($4,000 in 2012/13)

 Alternatives

Opposition to the levy has been loud with one Councillor Kevin Schreiber questioning the timing of the brochure mailout suggesting "it will be lost amongst the junk mail". Options being touted to reduce the need for the planned levy include selling off the Entertainment Centre which would save $4 million in upgrade costs plus result in possible income from the sale. Another one is going ahead with the planned sale of the Croydon Street car park which would save $3.5 million or alternatively introducing parking fees so it becomes self funding.

Ironically, Council is sitting on $47.5 million worth of investments which would more than cover the planned infrastructure expenditures. The investments though are Collaterised Debt Obligations (CDOs) which were attributed to last year's stock market crash and the onset of the Global Financial Crisis. However, Council has reported that $36 million of the investments are capital guaranteed so selling them off would still alleviate the need of the levy. Why these investments weren't spent on infrastructure in the first place is not clear.

Final Say

In order for the planned 6% levy to be applied it first needs to be approved by the NSW State government. Council is currently seeking community feedback which it will use for its application to the State government. So at the present moment it's still in the hands of residents as to whether the levy goes thru.

Poll

To have your say on our public poll on what you think of the planned levy click here

Select Poll: 

Council Rate Levy Poll
You live in
   Other
1   3.45%
   Sutherland Shire
5   17.24%
   Bundeena Maianbar
23   79.31%
You are a
   Renter
2   6.9%
   Homeowner
27   93.1%
You support Council's 9.5% annual rates increase over the next 5 years?
   Yes
2   6.9%
   No
27   93.1%
You think Council should sell off some of it's investments instead of adding a new rate levy?
   No
5   17.24%
   Yes
24   82.76%
You think Council should postpone some of it's infrastructure spending instead of adding a new rate levy?
   No
6   20.69%
   Yes
23   79.31%
You will be completing Council's survey?
   No
5   17.24%
   Yes
24   82.76%

Number of Voters  : 29


We also encourage you to participate in Council's Survey.

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