THE community is encouraged to make its voice heard about future rate levels.
A five-year special rate variation has provided Port Macquarie-Hastings Council with $1.7 million a year to maintain and improve the road network.
That 4.43 per cent special rate variation ends on June 30, 2017.
The council is seeking community input ahead of a decision about future rate levels.
Two scenarios are up for discussion.
Under one scenario, there would be no rate rise above the estimated 2.5 per cent rate peg level.
The rate peg is the amount by which NSW councils can raise rates without applying for a special rate variation.
There would be a slight decrease in average rates, under this scenario, and that would go hand in hand with reduced road funding.
Option two involves a new permanent special rate variation of 3.96 per cent, to maintain the current level of rates and funding for roads, plus the estimated 2.5 per cent rate peg amount.
That scenario would keep the average residential rates at the current level, apart from the estimated rate peg amount of $29.
Scenario two would allow the council to maintain community assets to the current level.
Community views about the desired level of the council’s service helped to develop the two scenarios.
Port Macquarie-Hastings mayor Peter Besseling said he made it very clear going into the election that he supported maintaining the current rate level.
“However, this is an opportunity to canvass the community as part of the special rate variation process to ascertain the community’s views and how they feel about the current level of rates,” he said.
He urged people to make the most of the community consultation.
The council’s general manager, Craig Swift-McNair, said like many other NSW councils, roads, footpaths, buildings, drainage and other community assets needed to be managed and continually upgraded to meet ever increasing demand and the growth of our region.
“Council invites our community to ‘have your say’ and share your thoughts and feelings about how we can continue to deliver a broad range of services and how any changes may impact you,” he said.
People can complete an online rates survey at www.pmhclistening.com.au/rates
Face-to-face community information sessions with council staff run from November 8.
Further information is available at www.pmhclistening.com.au, at council customer service centres in Port Macquarie, Laurieton and Wauchope or contact the council on 6581 8111.