Single rates system push

Increase likely for some

A SINGLE rate system to cover the entire Cumberland Council is a step closer.
Since amalgamations in 2016, residents and businesses in the new local government area (LGA) have been paying different rates depending on which former council they belonged to.
At their last meeting for 2019, councillors unanimously agreed to begin public consultation on a combination of options which could result in rate increases of up to $80 a year for some ratepayers.
Both options involve a five-year transition with the application of a minimum rate, with one option also including an increase in the rate cap over five years by $10 million, in order to recover income lost as a result of the amalgamation.
Under this option, the rates for former Auburn and Woodville Ward properties would be most impacted.
A report from the finance and governance director noted that the increases of up to $1.50 as a proportion of current weekly household expenditure, were “not significant’, but those most affected would be pensioners and singles under 35.
The largest rate increases are projected for those in the South Granville and Regents Park wards which have significantly lower rates than the rest of the LGA but also contain some of the most disadvantaged locations “and will likely be adversely affected”.
Councillor Greg Cummings said the merger had been “foisted” on residents with no democratic vote, leaving residents to “pick up the pieces”.
He said former Holroyd residents were already paying a higher proportion of rates than those in the other two former LGAs.
However Crs Ned Attie and Michael Zaiter refuted that, noting that Holroyd residents had previously opted for a special rate variation and pointing to the higher level of services offered in that part of the LGA.