Item 7.2 - Attachment 1

Previous Council Report



ITEM NUMBER         10.1

SUBJECT                   Community Consultation on Possible Special Rates Variation

REFERENCE            F2009/02419 - D01407629

REPORT OF              Manager - Finance        




To seek endorsement to enable Council to undertake preliminary work on assessing community views on the continuation of Special Rates which are expiring and any potential application for a general variation.  To also advise council that the Department of Local Government requires advice on any intention to apply for a special variation to rates by late January. However, this intention is non-binding and Council can later decide to not apply if it so chooses.





(a)       That Council endorse preliminary work on assessing community views on the continuation of expiring Special Rates and other rating options.


(b)       That Council note that the Department of Local Government is likely to require early notification of an intention to apply for a Special Variation.





1.   In 2000/01 the Minister for Local Government approved a special rates variation to fund economic development and infrastructure works. That approval expires at the end of this financial year and Council must re-apply if it wishes to continue this special variation. In 2009/10 this variation provided funds for the following purposes:


a.   CBD Infrastructure           $1.7M

b.   Suburban Infrastructure            $0.1M

c.   Economic development           $0.6M


2.   This revenue is currently raised by special rates levied predominantly on business ratepayers with the funds expended on works and services that will benefit those ratepayers.  The program of works being funded by these special rates is ongoing with much still to be done; therefore an application for the continuation of the special rate variation is recommended.


3.   Council has developed a Resource Strategy (Long Term Financial Plan), in accordance with the new Integrated Planning legislation that incorporates a number of “Gap closing strategies” to address long term financial sustainability.  Included are both expenditure and revenue strategies and Council has recently made some decisions which will result in significant on-going expenditure savings.  A rating strategy is also part of this plan, which includes the continuation of expiring special rates and an additional general increase. 


4.   Despite the initiatives in the 2009/10 Budget that reduced recurrent expenditures by around $7m, the current forecasts still show that there is a gap between expenditure and revenue unless additional initiatives are taken.



5.   See below Attachment 1 ( Closing the Gap)



6.   Council is required to consult widely with the community and ratepayers before seeking a variation to rates.  Such consultation will be an important input into the program of works to be funded.  This needs to commence early in the new year.





7.   Council has been advised by the Department of Local Government that procedures for applying for special variations to rates income are being reviewed in line with the requirements of the new Integrated Planning legislation. These requirements and a desire by the Department to resolve applications for special variations as soon as possible, have resulted in a proposed deadline of 29 January for Councils to submit an intention to apply for a special rates variation, with Council able to make the final decision whether to submit an application or not by 30 April 2010.


“ The Gap”




8.   During October and November Councillors took part in three strategic planning sessions at which the need to address the Council’s long term financial sustainability was considered.


9.   Consultation with the community will commence early in 2010 and will conclude with the 4 Year Delivery Program (Management Plan) exhibition period.




The financial implications are discussed above.



Jenny Fett

Finance Manager






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Item 7.2 - Attachment 1

Previous Council Report