Lithgow City Council has notified IPART (Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal) that it intends to apply for a special rate variation in 2019-2020 financial year.
Council will vote on whether to formally request the raise early next year.
The raise would include retaining the current 4.77 per cent special rate variation and requesting an additional 4.23 per cent. It would also include a 2.7 per cent rate peg increase, meaning that in 2019/20, the total increase would be 11.7 per cent.
“Council understands that on first impressions this may seem like a large increase,” Mayor Ray Thompson said.
“Council currently spends approximately $19 million on the maintenance and renewal of infrastructure assets each year, however, council should be investing at least an additional $1.1 million per year to keep assets safe and functioning.
“It is important to note that without an SRV (special rate variation), our assets would continue to decline with more assets in poor condition.
“The focus would be on managing risk, including the possible closure and removal of unsafe assets and reduction of services.”
Documents relating to the rate rise have been put on public exhibition.
Councillors questioned at the November 26 meeting why an application had to be made to IPART before the council had finally voted on whether they would support the proposed rise.
Council general manager Graeme Faulkner said it was simply part of the process that needed to be followed in order for council to have the option to lift rates.
“There is to be a great deal of community consultation on this issue between now and January and on January 29 an extraordinary meeting is to be held by council where council will consider the results of the community consultation and decide whether or not it wants to proceed,” Mr Faulkner said.
“After that process, if council decides to go ahead with a special rate variation, it goes to IPART and IPART will advise whether or not it is approved.”
More information is available at www.haveyoursay.lithgow.com.