Council to embark on rates harmonisation process

Council to embark on rates harmonisation process

Hilltops Council is preparing to embark on a rates harmonisation process across the residential, business and farmland categories across the Hilltops Local Government Area.

Following the amalgamation of NSW Council on May 12, 2016, the NSW Government requires councils created in 2016 to develop a single rating system for their LGA by July 1, 2021.

"Council is seeking to create a consistent rating system that is a fairer approach for all ratepayers, regardless of dwelling or business type," Hilltops general manager Anthony O'Reilly reported to last month's council meeting.

Asked by councillor Matt Stadtmiller what avenues council would be using to engage with the community regarding the changes which will see some ratepayers paying more and others paying less, Mr O'Reilly replied, "The usual avenues, obviously we have our communications machine".

Mr O'Reilly said council would also be setting up a function on its website which will allow ratepayers to type in their address and see what affect any changes have have on them.

He added: "the pool of money raised through rates for the provision of services will not change".

The pool of money raised through rates for the provision of services will not change

Hilltops general manager

"Council is seeking to create a consistent rating system that is a fairer approach for all ratepayers, regardless of dwelling or business type," Mr O'Reilly said.

"Council's aim is to develop a fair and equitable structure that distributes the burden fairly across the LGA while balancing the unexpected impact of harmonisation on the majority of ratepayers.

"Changes (we) are likely to experience under the harmonisation are the re-distribution of the current rate pool across the LGA."

Hilltops has engaged consulting firm Morrison Low to perform a review of the current ratings structure including analysis of capacity to pay, and Rates Benefit and Service Pricing.

Council voted to commence the public consultation based on an option 4 presented to it.

Following public consultation, a further report will be submitted to Council.