Brighton rates match CPI – up just 31c a week

BRIGHTON Council has kept its rate rise to the annual increase in CPI with the general rate to go up by just $16 per house next year, or 31 cents a week.

The Council will absorb the carbon tax impact, enabling it to restrict rate increases in the municipality to CPI for the 16th year running.

The rates for 2012/13 were confirmed at the Brighton Council meeting last night. Brighton’s garbage collection rate will rise by $4 a year. The increase for vacant residential land will be $5 for the year.

Mayor Tony Foster said the general rate would rise by just $16 for every house in the Brighton municipality next year. He said Council was pleased to be able to continue Brighton’s fair rating model, maintain its debt-free status and maintain and enhance its services to ratepayers and the community.

Brighton fairer rating model restricts annual rate rises to no greater than the annual increase in the CPI (this year 2.1 percent) and provides a flat general rate for all residential properties.

“According to the Auditor General’s latest report, Brighton Council has the lowest rates per capita yet the highest operating result in Tasmania,” Cr Foster said.

“Council’s commitment to absorb the carbon tax impact and maintain its fair rating model ensures that Brighton Council will continue to have the lowest rates in Tasmania.”

Cr Foster said Council had also considered the implications for the Federal Government’s carbon tax and while it was difficult to identify the exact financial impact of this new impost on Council’s budget, it was generally accepted that it would increase Council expenditure by around 0.7 percent or $12 per property.

“Council considered the impact of this increased cost but accepted that many businesses and ratepayers do not have the privilege of simply increasing revenue when the going gets tough so our commitment to CPI prevailed.

“Council will simply work harder, smarter and share resources with other councils to overcome the additional tax.”

Cr Foster said the community continued to expect and deserve a higher level of service such as better roads, parks, shared pathways and customer service. By not increasing rates higher than CPI, higher levels of community service could only be achieved through efficiency gains or external income.

“Our fair rating model has encouraged us to be more efficient to the point that Brighton Council now has the lowest staff ratio and the highest operating result in Tasmania.

“Brighton Council has also achieved considerable success and is recognised as an Australian leader in the area of external income generation, particularly through its highly successful information technology company Microwise Australia that provides software to councils and water authorities across Australia and internationally.

“We are determined to continue to be innovative and provide the most cost effective range of services for our community,” Cr Foster said.