Special Rate Variation

This consultation has concluded.

THIS CONSULTATION HAS CONCLUDED FOLLOWING A COUNCIL RESOLUTION NOT TO PROCEED WITH AN SRV APPLICATION IN 2014/15.

Willoughby Council is currently consulting on a proposed Special Rate Variation (SRV). A SRV will mean an increase in rates to fund the maintenance and replacement of Willoughby's enormous infrastructure network. 

The reason Council is considering applying to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) for a SRV is that Council’s Long Term Financial Plan has identified that more funds are required to maintain assets and services to the level expected by the community, while at the same time ensuring Council’s financial sustainability. 

Please take a look at the following documents for further information before providing your submission:

THIS CONSULTATION HAS CONCLUDED FOLLOWING A COUNCIL RESOLUTION NOT TO PROCEED WITH AN SRV APPLICATION IN 2014/15.

Willoughby Council is currently consulting on a proposed Special Rate Variation (SRV). A SRV will mean an increase in rates to fund the maintenance and replacement of Willoughby's enormous infrastructure network. 

The reason Council is considering applying to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) for a SRV is that Council’s Long Term Financial Plan has identified that more funds are required to maintain assets and services to the level expected by the community, while at the same time ensuring Council’s financial sustainability. 

Please take a look at the following documents for further information before providing your submission:

CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.
  • if the special rate rise goes ahead, what is to stop you doing it again in a couple of years. People are struggling to pay all their bills now, but if it goes ahead they will be paying more every year from now on and you could use it as a precident to apply the same logic again. I do not agree with this policy.

    anonymous asked over 3 years ago
    Thanks for the question. In order for a SRV application to be successful IPART must determine that there is a need for an increase in rates, the community has the ability to pay the increase and that the community is adequately, informed among other criteria. With this in mind a successful application does not necessarily set a precedent for future increases. If Council were to apply for a SRV in the future it would have to go through another consultation with the community and meet the conditions above in order for IPART to consider an increase in rates.
  • In one of your answers you state "More than half the ratepayers (mostly in units) pay the residential minimum rate of $702.20". With the large number of new units in Chatswood I would have expected a significant increase in Council income. If the occupants of these high rise units are paying the minimum, does that mean that they are not paying their full share of costs towards the maintenance of these infrastructure items? Effectively they are undercharged and house owners are going to carry the brunt of the SRV in dollar terms?

    anonymous asked over 3 years ago
    Hi Douglas Yes, the new units will provide an increase in income to Council which has been included in Council's Long Term Financial Plan. This increase in income still does not fully address the asset maintenance backlog. In 2012 Council raised the minimum rate by 23.6% to create a more equitable system of rating which meant that some rate payers living in houses received a reduction in rates. Please see below for a message regarding the proposed SRV: Over the last 12 months Council has been consulting on the community’s expected levels of services for Council assets and more recently about a proposed Special Rate Variation. This email is to inform you that Willoughby City Councillors have resolved not to apply to IPART for an increase in rate revenue. The decision was made at last night's Council meeting (3 February) following a Mayoral Minute from Acting Mayor, Councillor Gail Giles-Gidney. As such, tonight’s planned Public Meeting at Dougherty Community Centre has been cancelled. Willoughby Council has been undertaking a service review over the past 12 months which is continuing and is scheduled to be reported to Council in June 2014. Council will continue work on the asset management plans in order to refine the asset funding backlog. We appreciate the feedback you have provided us with on Council’s assets and the proposed special rate variation. Feedback has been passed on to Councillors and will assist in future decisions concerning the service review and any future proposals to apply for a Special Rate Variation. Thank you for using the Have Your Say Willoughby site and sharing your thoughts with us.
  • I understand the need for projections & appreciate that you are managing a tight budget - my concern is that these increases are on top of the possible allowable increases you can charge us as a result of the Valuer General's Dept review of land values - I am 55 , reside in apartment , reasonably high strata fees & I just keep wondering how long I can afford to live here - I am currently employed but should I lose this job my prospects of gainful future employment are small .I am therfore VERY conscious of keeping as many costs down as possible. If I could be sure your increase will be the only increase in costs you charge me then it is reasonable but should this be 'on top ' I will find it difficult - wages are not going up & we are working longer & harder.

    anonymous asked over 3 years ago
    Thanks for the question. The proposed SRV is a rate increase above the rate peg amount, which is based on land valuations by the Valuer General. Details of the percentage increase above the rate peg amount can be found in the SRV brochure in the 'library' section of this website.
  • The SRV will cost small business which will not really benefit from the improvements directly which will benefit residential ownership a lot more. Surely residents should foot this increase as the major beneficiaries.

    anonymous asked over 3 years ago
    Thanks for the question. Business and their customers enjoy the same benefits from Council assets such as roads, footpaths, parking and open space. Under the proposed SRV residents will be sharing the cost of any rate increases along with businesses.
  • Did or does the Council have any high risk financial instruments / investments such as derivatives that were impacted by the GFC which have contributed to the need for an SRV.

    thommo asked over 3 years ago
    Hi thommo No, the Council does not and did not previosuly have any of the type of investments to which you refer.
  • There has been a lot of technical questions and Council's answers seem a reasonable response .I understand the reasons for the Special Rate Variation. However, can Council guarantee that the additional sum to be paid over four years is $149,52 and not more? Thomas and Maria Czimeth

    Tamas asked over 3 years ago
    Hi Thomas and Maria The figure of $149.52 to which you refer is not the total amount that rates will increase for the average rate payer over the term of the SRV. $149.52 is difference between Option 1 and Option 2 in the final year of the proposed SRV. The total additional sum that will be payed by rate payers is an aggregate 28.8% over the 5 years including the rate peg amount. If you would like further clarification on the impact of the SRV on your rates please give us a call on 9777 1000. Thanks.
  • I have lived since 2004 in Willoughby Council. I understand your points about range of services increasing and ageing community assets approaching replacement date. I have three questions: (1) as the population increased, wouldn't the revenue collected by Council also have increased? (2) you say that "new revenue sources and business efficiencies have been identified" but provide no details. Could you please provide details of the business efficiencies achieved in the last few years (and identified for implementation in the next few years), so that ratepayers can be satisfied that the Council has first sought to become a well oiled and efficient machine before turning to rate payers to ask for exceptional injection of funds? (3) aging community assets should not be a problem if they had been properly maintained over the years and some type of sinking fund created (like in strata properties) to fund their replacement when warranted. Could you please explain why the rate increases that I suffered of 7.0% in FY07, 2.2% in FY08, 12.8% in FY09, 4.3% in FY10, 3.6% in FY11, 5.3% in FY12, 17.5% in FY13 and 5.0% in FY14 (annual average of 7.1%), well above inflation, were not sufficient to fund proper maintenance and create said sinking fund-type reserves? Many thanks

    avj asked over 3 years ago
    Hi Avj Please see below for responses to your questions. Yes, Council does receive additional income as the population increases and new properties are built. This additional income is modelled in the Long Term Financial Plan but still sees a shortfall in funds to maintain assets over time, hence the need for a SRV. As stated in previous answers on this website, Council has embarked on a Service Review project. The aim of the Service Review is to identify organisational efficiencies, improve performance, improve service delivery, and to create overall cost savings. The Service Review project will undertake an analysis of Councils services, systems, processes, work streams, resources and overall costs, with a review of market based comparisons for some relevant services. From an original analysis, Council Officers believe that an initial savings of $1M can be attained. Staff also believe, however, that further revenue raising opportunities may fall out of the Review as well as opportunities for savings through regional collaboration with other Councils. In reference to the figures you quote as rate increases above inflation, it appears you have included components such as the domestic waste charge in your calculations. In addition, Council also increased the minimum rates in 08/09 and 12/13 to create a more equitable rating structure, which is why your rates increased in those years.
  • This is a comment on a particular question and responses and that is the rates will stay at the level reached in 2018/19 with the SUV plus the pegged increase of 3% pa. Council is clearly seeking to raise substantially more than the $28m required to extinguish the maintenance backlog as the increase achieved in annual rates at the end of the five years will go on forever. It is in fact not a once off levy to fund a particular shortfall but a move to get funding increase that will apply well into the future. I would like to see an independent review of council's funding requirements including identifying and implementing efficiencies and cost savings in council's delivery of its services before I would be agreeable to this proposal. I was one who suffered a 22% increase in rates last year which obviously benefited other rate payers and I do not recall any community consultation on this move.

    Concerned retiree asked over 3 years ago
    Thanks for the question. The proposed SRV application runs until 2018/19 with the rate peg applicable thereafter. Council’s financial information is available in the Annual Report which is audited independently and also in Council’s Long Term Financial Plan. Both documents are available in the ‘library’ section of this website. In regards to the increase in minimum rates to which you refer, this was undertaken by Council to achieve a more equitable rating structure across the LGA and did not increase Council’s income. The community consultation for the increase in minimum rates was extensive, including public meetings, information stalls in Chatswood Mall, online forums and survey, advertisements in the North Shore Times and 20,000 information sheets and hard copy surveys distributed to rate payers. For full details of the consultation as well as IPART’s finding that Council consulted sufficiently with the community please see the report below by following the link. http://www.willoughby.nsw.gov.au/DownloadDocument.ashx?DocumentID=7695
  • 1. Does the State Government actually require Willoughby Council to raise fees beyond the rate peg ? 2. Has there been appropriate forecasting of, or provisioning for, the deterioration of existing assets and facilities ? -- if not, why not ? 3.What auditing is conducted of Willoughby Council financial plans and budgets historically and currently ? -- by whom ? 4. Given that the new concourse is allegedly neutral as to both initial and ongoing expenditure, why would the " new assets and services " not have been budgeted for ? 5.Excluding the concourse, what are these " new assets and services " ? Can it be possible that, for example, there has never been prior consideration by Council of storm water management ? 6. With an increasing population [ and withy particular reference to densely populated high rise development underway ] how can it be that income stream hasn't or will not change significantly ? 7. Why, in the current overview documentation, would there be any question that the community not value assets and services or that they not be maintained at high standard ? Surely that has always been the fundamental mandate of the Council ? 8. Why were the questions in the Iris Research telephone survey structured in such a way as to effectively only prompt answers supportive of the SRV ? Why was there no provision to raise an objection or to query the format ? 9. Why is there no mention or descriptor of Alternative Funding Mechanisms in the core communication documents [ alluded to in the Frequently Asked Questions part of the website ] ? 10. Has Council considered rate changes based on User Pays principles ? If so, what was the outcome ? I look forward to a prompt reply -- Morag

    morag asked over 3 years ago
    Hi Morag Please see below for answers to your questions. 1. No. 2. Yes, Council has spent a great deal of time over the past years developing detailed Asset Management Plans for Council's assets. These Asset Management Plans have been used to prioritise and cost the maintenance and renewal of these assets over the next 20 years. 3. Council's annual financial statements are independently audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers. 4. The SRV is only for the maintenance and renewal of existing assets. 5. As outlined in response 2 and 4 the purpose of the SRV is to address the maintenance and renewal of existing assets based on Council's detailed Asset Management Plans. The Asset Management Plans (including the Stormwater AMP) are available to download at http://www.willoughby.nsw.gov.au/About-Council/Forms-Policies---Publications/resourcing-strategy/ 6. Yes there has been some growth in the number of ratepayers, particularly in the CBD and that does increase Council's rating base. Council has to provide additional services for the new ratepayers and properties. Please bear in mind that the properties on which the developments occur have usually been rated at the much higher business rate so the growth is dollar terms is not a straight increase in income. 7. The Council aims to maintain assets and services at a level that is acceptable to the community. The Long Term Financial Plan has indicated that without increased funds that in the long term the level of assets may decrease and Council may not be able to continue to provide the extent of services that it currently does. 8. The Iris survey provided the opportunity to either support or oppose the SRV. 9. There is a great deal of information regarding alternative funding options contained in the Long Term Financial Plan and reports to Council in the 'library' section of this website. 10. No. The Local Government Act 1993 does not make provision for this.
  • Re: SRV, Has the possibility of combining resources with other councils been considered?

    Bronte asked over 3 years ago
    Hi Bronte The Local Government Independent Review Panel has looked into this matter. Further details can be found on their website at http://www.localgovernmentreview.nsw.gov.au/
  • Why in option 2 for the SRV is there no indication of increased business efficiencies as proposed in option 1? Why isn't that a part of the commitment from council?

    anonymous asked over 3 years ago
    Thanks for the question. Council is currently undergoing a service review and the increased business efficiencies will take place with or without the proposed SRV.
  • Can you comment on some of the big-ticket asset acquisition or maintenance items the Council has planned for the next few years? This would help me understand the benefits of the SRV

    BecRaph asked over 3 years ago
    Hi BecRaph A list of maintenance which will be undertaken under the proposed SRV is available in the Delivery Program from page 18. The Delivery Program is available to download in the 'library' section of this website or you can use the direct link here: http://haveyoursaywilloughby.com.au/document/show/342
  • How has the average residential rate been calculated. You state that the current rate is $873 however on our dwelling (not a large one) it is $1,580 .With your predictions the average SRV rate in 2018/19 would be $1,155 but ours would be $2,090.

    local asked over 3 years ago
    Thanks for the question. The residential rate is calculated by dividing the residential rate income by the number of residential rate accounts. The calculation does not include the Domestic Waste Charge or the Stormwater Charge. It sounds like the residential rate component of your rate notice may be in the vicinity for $1,082 which is closer to the average. More than half the ratepayers (mostly in units) pay the residential minimum rate of $702.20.
  • Could you please provide widely as part of your proposals a comparison of rates and the general inflation level over,say, the last ten years. My feeling is that rates have increased beyond the inflation rate since I became a ratepayer im 1983. A comparison with Average Weekly Earnings would seem valid.

    GWA asked over 3 years ago
    Hi GWA We have uploaded a PDF of the rate peg increases over the last ten years in the 'library' section of the website. The document is called 'Rate Peg Table 2004 - 2013'. The direct link is http://haveyoursaywilloughby.com.au/document/show/350
  • Is the SRV proposed to run until 2026 or until 2019

    Linds & Jan asked over 3 years ago
    Hi Linds & Jan The proposed SRV would run until the 2018/19 financial year.
  • To whom it may concern: With the proposal on SRV, I have the following question before I can make an informed decision. Can council please advise with rapid increase of residents (more than 1000 units from my estimate) in Chatswood, i.e. more rate payers, why is council still seeking additional funding from its rate payers? Considering all these newly built high density apartments do not require any additional work from council? Thank you and I look forward to your reply. Regards Ringo

    anonymous asked over 3 years ago
    Hi Ringo Yes there has been some growth in the number of ratepayers, particularly in the CBD and that does increase Council's rating base. Council has to provide additional services for the new ratepayers and properties. Please bear in mind that the properties on which the developments occur have usually been rated at the much higher business rate so the growth is dollar terms is not a straight increase in income. Over the past 2 years the number of new residential units is around 200, with another 600 expected in the next year or so when the Railway and Thomas Street developments are completed.
  • Have the council considered a wide ranging program of outsourcing services (including core services such as refuse collection)? Have the council considered a wide ranging program of outsourcing functions (including core functions such as rate and debt collection) to private service providers, some of which may be based in lower cost offshore jurisdictions? Also, has the council considered a wide ranging program of asset sales (possibly in conjunction with lease-back arrangements)? If so, please provide details.

    Low rates advocate asked over 3 years ago
    Thanks for the questions. Council's Domestic Waste services are carried out by private contractor, and debt collection services are also outsourced. Council only outsources to contractors based in Australia. Over the past ten years Council has sold underperforming assets to provide funds for current and future community needs in line with our Community Strategic Plan. For example, the old Council depot at Artarmon was long-term leased with funds going towards a brand new purpose built depot with 18 commercial units which generate rental income for Council.
  • Hi Council, I had asked some questions earlier on the 17/12 but they were not answered correctly or they were misunderstood. They are below: Question #2/ I understand that IPART approved an increase of 23.6% in rates for the financial year of 2012/13, why are we now going for more already when the year isnt over yet.??? Your Answer Q2: IPART's approval for 2012/13 only relates to Council's submission to increase minimum rates. There was no additional income generated by Council as part of this approval. My Response: Your application to increase minimum rates for 2012/12 indicates that there were increases to the minimum residential rates of $129.65 which would affect 15628 properties, so how can it not have generated and additional income.??? my calculator says $2,026,170 just for residential, not to mention the additional income of $8.50 to all rate payers for Domestic Waste Management which is an additional quarter of a million a year in round figures. This puts your response to Cam's question on the 15/12 into doubt. Please respond. My Question #3/ How much does it cost to go to IPART for a determination and what are the terms of reference for the new application. Your response to Question 3: Terms of Reference for an application to IPART can be found on their website at http://www.ipart.nsw.gov.au . There is no application fee for Council to apply for a SRV. Mr response: If you have not put the application into IPART yet, i will not be able to view the terms of reference, so can you post them on this web site. As far as the cost of an IPART application is concerned i was interested in how much it costs the council to prepare and manage the report to conclusion, you have a staff of 416 how many of them are involved in producing this report or a dollar value of the cost for personel or contractiors. Please respond, thank you.

    tardis asked over 3 years ago
    Hi again Tardis For clarification, the increase in minimum rates did not generate any additional income for Council, it simply redistributed the rating burden from stand-alone properties to ratepayers paying the minimum rate. Council’s income only increased by the rate peg of 3.6%. In response to the ‘terms of reference’ to which you refer, the guidelines for applying for a SRV are available from the IPART website. If you are referring to Council’s specific ‘terms of reference’ for making a decision to apply for a SRV, all relevant information can be found in the ‘library’ section of this website. There is no actual ‘terms of reference’ as such, however there is detailed information available in the reports to Council as well as in the updated Council Delivery Program and Long Term Financial Plan which are currently on exhibition for comment. As part of the guidelines for applying for a SRV these are the documents that Council is required to prepare and make available to the community for comment. As you can imagine there are a number of staff involved in preparing these documents as well as carrying out community consultation for the proposed SRV. The staff assigned to this work do so as part of their normal duties. Obviously there are costs associated with preparing materials for community consultation including in house graphic design, external printing and distribution of information. When making purchases of this nature Council receives several quotations and makes a decision based on best value in accordance with Council’s purchasing procedures.
  • I have read the information pack. I have a few of observations / questions: • it appears there is no distinction between services to use an asset for the benefit of one off benefit of Willoughby residents vs the costs of maintaining / enhancing assets for future use. I believe this distinction is critical to understanding where the shortfall in funds is. I do not want to incur a rate increase to fund staff that provides services which are not maintaining / enhancing council assets (e.g. council workers collecting garbage; library opening hours). I am happy for a rate increase for improving assets that require essential repairs (such as storm water drains; a building housing the library; investing in improved assets that could reducing staffing requirements and maintenance) • how do we know the special rate variation would be removed and not rolled forward without reason (such as the harbour bridge toll)? • How much of this shortfall is due to the new council facility in Chatswood (exceeding budgets)? • What process is in place to make sure the extra funds are used ONLY for the purposes agreed and do not just drop into general funds Daryl Madden 99 High Street Willoughby East

    anonymous asked over 3 years ago
    Hi Daryl Funds attained through the SRV will be spent on upgrade and renewal of existing assets. A list of maintenance which will be undertaken under the proposed SRV is available in the Delivery Program from page 18. The Delivery Program is available to download in the 'library' section of this website or you can use the direct link here: http://haveyoursaywilloughby.com.au/document/show/342 The proposed SRV application runs until 2018/19 with the rate peg applicable thereafter. This cannot be ‘rolled forward’ by Council, as any change to this proposal would require approval from IPART. There is Nil shortfall due to The Concourse in Chatswood. Council is required to prepare an Annual Report, six monthly Delivery Program Progress Reports and an End of Term Report which detail what Council has delivered during these periods. These reports are all public and available through the Willoughby Council website.
  • I have read the information pack. I have a few of observations / questions: • it appears there is no distinction between services to use an asset for the benefit of one off benefit of Willoughby residents vs the costs of maintaining / enhancing assets for future use. I believe this distinction is critical to understanding where the shortfall in funds is. I do not want to incur a rate increase to fund staff that provides services which are not maintaining / enhancing council assets (e.g. council workers collecting garbage; library opening hours). I am happy for a rate increase for improving assets that require essential repairs (such as storm water drains; a building housing the library; investing in improved assets that could reducing staffing requirements and maintenance) • how do we know the special rate variation would be removed and not rolled forward without reason (such as the harbour bridge toll)? • How much of this shortfall is due to the new council facility in Chatswood (exceeding budgets)? • What process is in place to make sure the extra funds are used ONLY for the purposes agreed and do not just drop into general funds Daryl Madden 99 High Street Willoughby East

    anonymous asked over 3 years ago
    Hi Daryl Funds attained through the SRV will be spent on upgrade and renewal of existing assets. A list of maintenance which will be undertaken under the proposed SRV is available in the Delivery Program from page 18. The Delivery Program is available to download in the 'library' section of this website or you can use the direct link here: http://haveyoursaywilloughby.com.au/document/show/342 The proposed SRV application runs until 2018/19 with the rate peg applicable thereafter. This cannot be ‘rolled forward’ by Council, as any change to this proposal would require approval from IPART. There is Nil shortfall due to The Concourse in Chatswood. Council is required to prepare an Annual Report, six monthly Delivery Program Progress Reports and an End of Term Report which detail what Council has delivered during these periods. These reports are all public and available through the Willoughby Council website.
  • What happens with the SRV after the expiry of the first 5 years ? Do the rates revert to the normal pegged level as they would have become in 2019/20 under the 3% escalation? Also, prior to supporting the SRV, how can we be assured that the Council is operating as efficiently as possible in seeking to provide the normal business as usual services ? Thank you.

    Keith7 asked over 3 years ago
    Hi Keith7 After the expiry of the SRV, the rates in 2019/20 will stay at the same level that they reach in the final year of the SRV, plus the rate peg amount. The average residential estimate in 2018/19 is - $1154.68 and 2019/20 estimate is $1189.32, a 3% increase. Council has embarked on a Service Review project. The aim of the Service Review is to identify organisational efficiencies, improve performance, improve service delivery, and to create overall cost savings. The Service Review project will undertake an analysis of Councils services, systems, processes, work streams, resources and overall costs, with a review of market based comparisons for some relevant services. From an original analysis, Council Officers believe that an initial savings of $1M can be attained. Staff also believe, however, that further revenue raising opportunities may fall out of the Review as well as opportunities for savings through regional collaboration with other Councils.
  • The brochure - Important Information about a Proposed Special Rate Variation, states 2 points on which I have questions. Firstly, the SRV application and associated mooted increases over the next 5yrs appears to only prevent the $28M maintenance backlog deteriorating. In brief will the SRV extinguish the $28M? If not why not, surely this must be the priority as it forms the cornerstone for the motivation for the SRV - or, if not a priority then these "maintenance backlogs" are probably not important...? It does not seem clear as to what the rates will revert back to following the 5yr fund raise. It would be useful to show - and thereby commit, to rate payers that this is not an open ended opportunity to 'peg' rates at the new levels. If you can clearly demonstrate the OPTION 1 and OPTION 2 so aptly, then it should surely be possible to show rates levied after the 5yr fund raise in OPTION 2 reverting back to those controlled by the Independent Pricing Regulator? Rory

    anonymous asked almost 4 years ago
    Hi Rory The SRV is designed to extinguish the $28M maintenance backlog and from then on maintain/renew assets to ensure they remain in an acceptable condition. Council’s Asset Management Plans detail the cost involved in bringing our assets to an acceptable level of service over the time of these Asset Management Plans. Funds obtained through the SRV will be used to do this. After the expiry of the SRV, the rates in 2019/20 will stay at the same level that they reach in the final year of the SRV, plus the rate peg amount. The average residential estimate in 2018/19 is - $1154.68 and 2019/20 estimate is $1189.32, a 3% increase.
  • Please advise: 1. What is the annual revenue increase to the Council if the Special Variation "B" is approved; 2. How much is the annual interest bill on the Concourse Project; 3. Does the Council own or lease the Council premises? If the latter, what is the annual cost? 4. Has selling the Concourse been considered? Thanks Roger Pottie

    Roger Pottie asked almost 4 years ago
    Hi Roger Full details of the annual revenue bot hwith and without a SRV can be found on page 24 of the Delivery Program which is in the 'library' section of this website. The direct link is: http://haveyoursaywilloughby.com.au/document/show/342 The total annual interest on loans for The Concourse for 2013/14 is $2.029M The Council owns the Council premises. Selling The Concourse has not been considered. Thanks for taking the time to provide your feedback.
  • Good afternoon, The details of the Community Assets and the financial plan at the website are overwhelming. The objectives and the efforts of the Council to maintain and to improve the qualities of the services in the future are obvious. I have observed that buildings are being built at public lands, such as Thomas Street Car Park, Albert Avenue and Archer Street intersection Car Park etc. Would the Council get the money from the land sales? If so, would it be an option to alleviate the financial burdens in the future?

    Willinput asked almost 4 years ago
    Thanks for the question. The proceeds from the sale of these car parks formed part of the funding for The Concourse development. Council has converted underperforming assets for more productive and relevant assets in this case. We are continually reviewing land assets to identify underperforming or surplus sites to redevelop or sell (if possible) to fulfil community needs. It should be noted that car parking will not be lost to the City as the Thomas Street site will include a 250 space public car park and the spaces on the Albert/ Archer site were relocated to The Concourse.
  • How many people are employed by the Council (including contractors)? In 2013, the total employment and contractor cost amount to over 55% of total Council revenue. How do we know that the Council is efficiently managing resources? The last thing the community want is a SRV to cover for Council's inefficiencies and increased salaries just like other utility increases.

    Kevinl asked almost 4 years ago
    Hi and thanks for the question. At 30/6/13 the number of full time equivalent staff at Council was 416. The number of contractors Council employs varies from day to day. The cost of contractors to Council can be found in the Annual Report which is in the 'library' section of this website.
  • 1. In the 2019/2020 year will the 15% for the SRV which applied in 2018/2019 drop away? 2. What is the total funding that will be raised by the SRV?

    Phil Bennett asked almost 4 years ago
    Hi Phil The rates from 2019/20 will only increase by the rate peg with no further increases planned at this stage. The income generated over the period of the SRV will form part of Council's rate base from 2019/20. The total funds raised by the SRV will be $23,781,324.
  • I would like to know whether the Council has implemented any other efficiency measures in curbing administrative costs before considering an increase in rates. Thank you.

    MDas asked almost 4 years ago
    Thanks for the question. Council has embarked on a Service Review project. The aim of the Service Review is to identify organisational efficiencies, improve performance, improve service delivery, and to create overall cost savings. The Service Review project will undertake an analysis of Councils services, systems, processes, work streams, resources and overall costs, with a review of market based comparisons for some relevant services. From an original analysis, Council Officers believe that an initial savings of $1M can be attained. Staff also believe, however, that further revenue raising opportunities may fall out of the Review as well as opportunities for savings through regional collaboration with other Councils.
  • Regarding rate increases, I would like to see reduction in charges especially the garbage collection. Could we have various sized bins at various rate costs? We do not need weekly green and recycle collections, fortnightly would be adequate. I have asked this question for the last 2-3 years and all I get told is the service is tendered.

    anonymous asked almost 4 years ago
    Thanks for the question. While Council's garbage services are tendered, the amount and regularity of collections is determined by Council through data and research to acheive the best outcome for diversion of waste from landfill, diversion of green waste from land and to maximise recycling.
  • Question #1/ Is the amount that you are short for Case 2B over a 5 year period $24,671,595 or around $5m a year. Question #2/ I understand that IPART approved an increase of 23.6% in rates for the financial year of 2012/13, why are we now going for more already when the year isnt over yet.??? Question #3/ How much does it cost to go to IPART for a determination and what are the terms of reference for the new application. Question #4 In the Buildings Asset Management plan of 2011 you indicate that you have $75M in 23 commercial buildings not including the concourse, are these occupied by the council or rented to third parties. Question #5 In the Buildings Asset Management plan of 2011 you indicate that you have an investment property of 1 building worth $5M, who occupies this. Question #6 In the Buildings Asset Management plan of 2011 you indicate that you have council housing of 22 buildings worth $5.8M, who occupies these buildings.

    tardis asked almost 4 years ago
    Hi Tardis Please see below for answers to your questions. Question 1: Around $5M a year. Question 2: IPART's approval for 2012/13 only relates to Council's submission to increase minimum rates. There was no additional income generated by Council as part of this approval. Question 3: Terms of Reference for an application to IPART can be found on their website at http://www.ipart.nsw.gov.au . There is no application fee for Council to apply for a SRV. Question 4,5,6: Council's commercial properties are rented to third parties which generates rental income for Council. Privacy considerations limit further details being included in this response.
  • How much per anum are you short on maintenance, whilst you have it broken down into a rate payer basis, i would like to know how much in total per anum you are short of funds.

    tardis asked almost 4 years ago
    Hi Tardis In the 'library section' of this website there is a Council Report entitled 'Endorsement of Long Term Financial Plan and Delivery Program for Public Exhibition' . On Pages 9 and 10 of the report there is a detailed table indicating the asset funding gap for the next 5 years.
  • Is it possible to provide information on what are the average rates and levels of services provided at nearby councils (e.g. Lane Cove, North Sydney, Ku-ring-gai)? This information would enable me to more easily determine whether we have been underinvesting in local infrastructre compared to comparable districts or just not spending our money as wisely as it should have been.

    Jamie Vandenberg asked almost 4 years ago
    Hi Jamie We have uploaded a PDF of Willoughby’s average residential and minimum residential rates in comparison to other local Council’s to the ‘library section’ of this website. The best way to see the services provided by other local Council's is to visit their website and download their Community Strategic Plan, Delivery Program and Operational Plan. You will also be able to find information in their Annual Report and six monthly Delivery Program progress report. We hope this helps you in your determination, thanks for the question.
  • Will the rate increase apply to the garbage levy etc, or just the base rate?

    CAM BALZER asked almost 4 years ago
    Hi Cam The Domestic Waste Charge is calculated independently of the rates and is based on costs relating to the service. A Special Rate Variation does not apply to the garbage levy.
  • Why has Willoughby Council got the lowest DA, CC/CDC costs in the metropolitan Council Area, given that we are the second largest city in NSW?

    nbb asked almost 4 years ago
    Thanks for your question nbb. Development Application Fees are regulated by the State Government and thus Council does not have control over these fees. Council does determine the fees for Construction Certificates, Complying Development Certificates and Building Inspections. When setting these fees Council aims to be competitive in order to attract customers in a highly competitive market.
  • What incremental income will be raised by increasing rates with the special rate variation? If possible, can you please provide a high level overview of where these funds will be spent/invested within the community.

    anonymous asked almost 4 years ago
    Thanks for the question. Details of incremental income and a summary of where money from a Special Rate Variation will be spent are available on page 17 onwards in the draft Delivery Program which is currently on public exhibition. You can download a copy of the draft Delivery Program on the Special Rate Variation Page of this site as well as in the ‘library’ section and on Council’s website at http://www.willoughby.nsw.gov.au/About-Council/Forms-Policies---Publications/delivery-program-and-operational-plan-2010-2014/
  • Further to the question on the concourse - what is the net annual cash contribution or cost of the consourse to the council's operating budget? Thanks Peter

    peterhum asked almost 4 years ago
    Hi Peter The Concourse makes nil contribution to Council’s operating budget. The surplus from The Concourse is transferred to reserve for future use such as asset renewal of The Concourse and retirement of The Concourse debt.
  • 1. Are proposed increase in council rates comparable to rates charged by other surrounding councils like North Sydney, Kuringai and Waringah? 2. How much were their annual rate increase? 3. Have council carried out a review of which facility is under use and if there is a need to continue to maintain it? Thank you.

    anonymous asked almost 4 years ago
    Thanks for the questions. Please see below for a response. 1.We have uploaded a PDF of Willoughby’s average residential and minimum residential rates in comparison to other local Council’s to the ‘library section’ of this website. 2.Details of all Special Rate Variation application can be found on IPART’s website at http://www.ipart.nsw.gov.au/Home/Industries/Local_Govt/Special_Variations_and_Minimum_Rates/Applications_Determinations . At this site you will also find easy to read Fact Sheets available for download which detail the exact percentages of rate increases approved by IPART. 3.Yes, Council has embarked on a Service Review project. The aim of the Service Review is to identify organisational efficiencies, improve performance, improve service delivery, and to create overall cost savings. The Service Review project will undertake an analysis of Councils services, systems, processes, work streams, resources and overall costs, with a review of market based comparisons for some relevant services. From an original analysis, Council Officers believe that an initial savings of $1M can be attained. Staff also believe, however, that further revenue raising opportunities may fall out of the Review as well as opportunities for savings through regional collaboration with other Councils.
  • The brochure talks about average rates. Is it possible for a ratepayer to work out their actual rates under the new proposal?

    micwat asked almost 4 years ago
    Hi and thanks for the question. In the 'library section' of this website there is a Council Report entitled 'Endorsement of Long Term Financial Plan and Delivery Program for Public Exhibition' . On Page 10 you can see a sample of different types of rates and the impact a special rate variation will have on them. If you would like to know specifically how much extra you will be charged with a special rate variation please call our rates department on 9777 1000 and they will be able to provide an answer for you. Hope this information was helpful.
  • If Council collects appropriate levels of Section 94 Contributions from new developments and manages these funds, why does this not adequately cover the cost of all new infrastructure? Is this not the purpose of Section 94 Contributions?

    Mystified rate payer asked almost 4 years ago
    Thanks for the question. Section 94 contributions have never fully funded new infrastructure and since 2007 the state has capped Section 94 contributions. Community needs and wants have changed over time and councils have had to respond with many new services. The proposed special rate variation is to fund the gap in renewal of existing assets.
  • If the SRV of 28.8% over 5 years does go ahead, what would be the baseline of the Rates after the designated 5-years period ? Is it the intention of the Council to base on the elevated level of the Rates for the 2018/2019 year in calculating Rates for future years, or is the intention to drop the Rates back to the "rate peg" level as if the SRV had not been applied? The future intention is unclear from the letters and brochures delivered to the Ratepayers. Please clarify. Herman Yu

    HWHY asked almost 4 years ago
    Hi Herman The average residential rate in 2019/20 will be $1189.65 The rates from 2019/20 will only increase by the rate peg with no further increases planned at this stage. The income generated over the period of the SRV will form part of Council's rate base from 2019/20.
  • Why was there no option 3 of user pays to cover running costs of discretionary facilities?

    Trevor asked almost 4 years ago
    Hi Trevor As this proposal is the result of a detailed review of Council’s assets, their condition, optimum intervention level and costs to bring to a satisfactory standard, officers determined that the most appropriate modelling was to develop a base case scenario which reviews numerous assumptions and service levels and which underpin the Long Term Financial Plan. It was then determined what funding was required to be spent on core assets per year which was the basis for the Sustainable Case. Council regularly reviews the service levels of all its current programs including its numerous facilities. In order to ensure its financial sustainability Council must monitor its recurrent expenditure and revenue streams with user charge pricing being a vital element within the annual budget. Council adopts its fees and charges on annual basis in conjunction with the Annual Budget process.
  • There was some talk about increasing rates for units by more than for houses. Is this still being considered?

    JHSP asked almost 4 years ago
    Hi JHSP No, the current SRV does not include a proposal to change the rate structure in that way. Minimum rates have previously been increased by 30% in addition to the rate peg amount. The last increase was 20% in 2012/13.
  • How much was the maintenance program behind (in $) when the concourse development was undertaken? How much debt did the concourse development incur?

    anonymous asked almost 4 years ago
    Thanks for the question. The Concourse has not and does not impact on the asset maintenance program. The total borrowings for The Concourse are $55M.
  • I realise that Councils’ need to raise revenue to address large shortfalls in asset maintenance and renewal but feel that the material supporting the SRV could present a more even basis for making informed decisions. I have the following questions in relation to the ongoing discussion: 1. What is the current average % allocated to asset maintenance and renewal? 2. Neither option appears to allow for "new assets" or "aspirational projects" How will these be funded into the future? 3. Are commercial ratepayers to be included? If so what is their contribution? 4. What does "Allows for the renewal of capital projects" in option 2 mean? 5. Ratepayers would have a clearer picture of how their extra dollars will be spent if items to which the levy will be applied were itemised, at least to a general level (e.g. maintenance of council footpaths), along with a breakdown of the funds to be applied. This would help provide transparency for ratepayers to give them a basis for their own evaluation of future works. Has this been provided? If not can it be provided during the consultation stage? 6. Some ratepayers may be offended by the wording and intent of Option 1. It is not really an option for the vast majority of ratepayers. It seems to imply that if the special levy is rejected by ratepayers that no future funding will be allocated to asset maintenance and replacement. Could options be re-presented so that they offer a real basis for informed choice? e.g. two choices which present scenarios for two levels of funding increase. 7. It appears to me that the stated SRV of 28.8% does not really present a clear picture of the increase in rates for Option 2 as compared to Option 1. Option 1 would result in an increase in rates of about half of this (14.3%) from rate peg alone. Wouldn’t it be expected that part of this would be addressed to asset maintenance and renewal? Could this distinction be presented for clearly in the Council’s material? I look forward to your responses and trust that my concerns will help others in their deliberations. Martin Maguire 249 Midson Road Epping NSW 2121

    anonymous asked almost 4 years ago
    Hi Martin Below are some answers to your questions. We hope you and the rest of the community find the answers helpful. Question 1. $20.2M of a total spend of $102M is spent on assets. The percentage varies by asset class, for example - Footpaths - New works – 5%, Renewal – 60%, Maintenance – 35% - Kerb & Gutter Renewal – 70%, Maintenance – 30% - Roads – New - 3 %, Renewal – 49%, Maintenance – 48% Question 2. Case 2B addresses the asset funding gap and the current standard of service delivery. The Asset Management Plan identified capital projects that either have yet to be formalised or are over and above current trends in capital expenditure. The community aspirational projects from the Community Strategic Plan (CSP) including an outline of the potential long-term financial implications are listed on Page 19 of the LTFP, available on Council’s website. It should be noted that the table is not a complete listing of these aspirational projects. To achieve these new additional community initiatives will require long-term financial support. An estimated life cycle costing and the potential extra percentage rate income required to fund any project shortfall will need to be developed. This will require consultation with the community regarding their affordability during a community engagement program. Question 3. Yes, about $20M. Question 4. It means Option 2 provides sufficient funding to bring assets to, and maintain them at a satisfactory standard. Question 5. Many are listed in the Delivery Program commencing on page 18. The Delivery Program is available the ‘library’ section of this site and on Council’s website. Question 6. Under the business as usual scenario, Council will continue to deliver services and manage its assets within current financial projections. This scenario will result in the standard of our community assets declining over coming years as sufficient resources will not be available to ensure their usefulness. Repair costs will increase as assets are not maintained which will place further pressure on Council budgets. Council would need to decide in the future to (a) redirect some funding from other areas to carry out additional renewals and fund additional maintenance and (b) reduce the number of assets that require maintenance and renewal by closing or selling them. Council-wide, the approach is likely to be a combination of these options to ensure essential service delivery and safety, but ultimately the result will be some reduced quality and/or reduced services. Council has resolved to consult only on the 2 options proposed. It should be noted however that the previous LTFP suggested a higher SRV. Question 7. The cumulative increase over the 5 years without a special rate variation is 15.1%. The cumulative percentage including the special rate variation is 32.27%. The figure of 28.8% represents the aggregated increases of 8.3% + 5.5% + 5% + 5% + 5%. Yes the Base Case, Option 1 includes the current level of new, renewal and maintenance of assets as outlined in Council’s explanatory material.
  • Will the extra include the upgrade to the Leisure Centre? It is becoming rather run-down and maintenance is poor (eg doors have been missing on showers for months).

    Lynn asked almost 4 years ago
    The special rate variation will assist with the ongoing maintenance and asset management of the Leisure Centre facilities and buildings. Any significant upgrade will be funded from a number of different funding sources which are yet to be finally determined. The missing shower doors at the Leisure Centre are scheduled to be repaired by the end of January 2014 as programmed maintenance and repairs.