Hilltops Council adopts structure for rates harmonisation

Hilltops Council adopts structure for rates harmonisation

Hilltops Council has adopted the structure for rates harmonisation between the former Young, Harden and Boorowa shires.

After a period of public consultation, and consideration of 13 submissions from residents across the local government area, councillors voted at the May council meeting to progress under option four.

Ratepayers will see changes, as a result of rates harmonisation, in their rates notices next financial year.

General manager Anthony O'Reilly told councillors "every ratepayers' account will move slightly".

"It is the least amount of impact for the majority of ratepayers. And that was through the option we consulted on," general manager Anthony O'Reilly said.

Mayor Brian Ingram, in a video blog posted to council's Facebook page, said it was a "complex process" and an "important matter".

"We put an option out to the community that we thought was the fairest result for everyone. We received 13 submissions back in regard to that matter," he said.

At the meeting, Cr John Horton said the process needed to be finalised.

"The reason for that is that people who have paying rates above what they should be paying haven't been doing it for one or two or three months, they've been doing it for four years. So we can't prolong that anymore, we need to make it fair, we believe it is fair this system, and it needs to be activated quickly," Cr Horton said.

"I believe this council, Hilltops Council, four years new, has always been fair, and has treated all towns and villages fairly. I believe we need to continue to be fair and make this happen quickly."

Cr Matt Stadtmiller said council should be "fair-dinkum" with the community about whether or not a special rate variation will be explored. He noted the situation at Cootamundra-Gunadagai, where residents have been slugged with a 53.5 per cent rate hike over the next four years.

"There's no mention of special rate variation in the report. Be that as it may, the neighbouring council, merged exactly same time as we were, and who enacted their rates harmonisation 12 months ago, has since had to go and seek an increase to 53.5 per cent with a special rate variation. So, although some may not wish to a draw a conclusion on what might happen in the future, I'd like to draw that conclusion."

Mayor Ingram at that stage called a point of order.

"I'm going to concentrate on Hilltops Council," he said.