Rates kept at CPI low

BRIGHTON rates for 2011-12 will increase by just over $20 for each residential property, in line with the Hobart Consumer Price Index (CPI) rise, but lower than the national rate of inflation.

Annual household rates will rise by $20.80 or 40 cents per week, The 2.9 percent increase is in line with the Hobart CPI increase, but lower than the national CPI rise of 3.3 percent.

The annual rates were determined at the Council meeting in May which approved in principle Brighton’s budget for the 2011-12 financial year.

Brighton’s rate increases for all property sectors – residential, commercial and rural – will be kept at 2.9 percent and the maximum rate increase for any vacant residential land will be $6

Mayor Tony Foster said Brighton Council had now kept rate rises at or below the CPI increase for the past 15 years.

Cr Foster said Brighton’s ‘Fair Rating System’ based on a continuation of its residential flat rate, and the Council’s efficient management had enabled it to keep this commitment to ratepayers.

“This is a significant achievement and one not matched by other Tasmanian councils. It assists Brighton ratepayers in combatting cost of living increases at a time when many other charges are increasing much faster that the inflation rate.

“The Parliament has the opportunity to make rating fairer and protect ratepayers from rate volatility in legislation currently being considered. However the Government’s Bill needs to be amended to provided for full flat rating.

“This will facilitate approaches such as Brighton’s ‘Fair Rating System’ and failure to enable this will represent a serious missed opportunity.

“We have a commitment to keep rate annual rate rises at or below the rate of inflation and we will honour this as long as we are able to maintain our ‘Fair Rating System’.

“The challenge is now with other Tasmanian councils to protect their ratepayers in a similar way, at a time of significant cost of living increases and for the Tasmanian Parliament to amend the proposed local government legislation to enable Brighton to continue hold down rate rises.

Cr Foster said the Australian Bureau of Statistics had identified Brighton as Tasmania’s fastest growing Council over the past five years. The Auditor General’s latest report showed Brighton as having the second lowest rate revenue per head of population in the State, the lowest staff ratio per population and the highest operating margin among Tasmanian councils.

“We are proud of these results and our ability to hold down rate increases.

“This encourages growth and development in Brighton and significantly benefits ratepayers,” Cr Foster said.