Rates up only 2.5 pc Water and sewerage savings passed on in full

BRIGHTON ratepayers are facing minimal rate increases next financial year as a result of the Council’s efficiency and its decision to pass on the full savings of the transfer of water and sewerage services.

Due to its sound financial management, Council has been able to approve in principle, a rate increase of an average 2.5 per cent for 2009/10.

The increase means that every residential property will pay an extra $20 in rates for the 2009/10 financial year, which equates to about 38 cents a week for residential ratepayers.  Residential land rates will increase by $5.

At the same time, Brighton Council has adhered to its long-term commitment to maintain rate increases at or below, the cost of inflation. The Consumer Price Index is currently at 2.5 per cent.

Brighton Mayor Tony Foster said sound financial management coupled with efficient cost containment had allowed Council to pass on the full savings of the transfer of water and sewerage to the newly-formed Southern Water Corporation to ratepayers.

“Our new 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.

At the same time it has meant that we are passing on the water and sewerage savings to ratepayers.

As a Council, what better way to demonstrate that we are managing ratepayers’ money well by passing on the water and sewerage savings directly to them?” Cr Foster said.

Two years ago, Brighton Council recognised that the Assessed Annual Value (AAV)  system where rates were assessed based on property values for residential properties was inequitable.

“The new system provides a better and fairer way to rate the municipality and pay for services that are supplied to the whole community.”

The new rating system was originally modelled using the Council’s award-winning Propertywise software and importantly, significantly reduces any major variation in rates resulting from property revaluations.

“We know we have come up with the right formula providing a fair rating system for all.

“People know exactly where they stand in terms of rate increases because based on our financial plan and budgeting, they are tied to CPI increases only, or lower.  There are no major fluctuations in rates, which ensures that businesses that want to invest in our region have the confidence to stay in Brighton, and residents to not face massive rate increases.

“The flat rating system is a win-win for the entire municipality. Our rates’ decision this year clearly demonstrates that,” Cr Foster said.