Brighton Council passed on the full savings of the transfer of water and sewerage services to the new State Government established authority, to ratepayers this year.
Brighton Mayor Tony Foster said Council had deducted the entire cost of its provision of water and sewerage services and due to its own sound financial management, the average rate increase in the municipality for 2009/10 was just 2.5 percent.
Cr Foster said it was unfortunate that ratepayers were now receiving substantial water and sewerage bills, but it was unfair to blame Council when the reduction in rates did not match the new charges.
“We reduced our rates by the full costs of Brighton Council providing water and sewerage services previously, and the new Southern Water Corporation set the latest charges,” he said.
“As our rate variance table shows (see attached) every residential property in Brighton is paying an extra $20 in Council rates for the 2009/10 financial year.
“Brighton Council has adhered to its long-term commitment to maintain rate increases at or below, the rate of inflation.
“While the new water and sewerage charges are beyond our control, it is worth noting that under the management of Brighton Council, water consumption had not increased in 10 years.”
Cr Foster said according to the Auditor General’s latest report, Brighton Council had the lowest rates per capita in Tasmania.
“Brighton Council prides its self on its economic performance and financial management by keeping rates at or below CPI over the last 10 years.
“Our new flat-rate system is working extremely well for Council and for ratepayers and as a result they are not being penalised by hefty hikes in rates each year.
“However, water and sewerage services now come under a new regime and it is incorrect to suggest that Council has been anything but true to its word in passing on in full, the savings it achieved from the transfer of these services. It has also been transparent in determining and outlining its own rate charges,” Cr Foster said.