Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council (CGRC) Operational Plan is on public display. Residents are invited to submit comments on the plan until 30 June 2020.
The Operational Plan includes information relating to Council’s Long-Term Financial Plan, Revenue Policy and Fees and Charges for 2020/2021.
The budget for 2020/21 includes reduction of $3.8 million to operational expenditure, which is a huge step towards financial viability. With significant grant funding secured, the ongoing upgrades of major infrastructure items can continue. The Cootamundra Water Supply and Gundagai Sewerage Treatment plant being the big ticket items, along with major upgrades to roads.
Council is bound by legislation to harmonise rates, aligning the rating structures of the two former Councils. The harmonised rates structure was formulated with the guidance of Professor Joseph Drew, Associate Professor of Public Policy and Local Government in the Institute for Public Policy and Governance at the University of Technology Sydney and adjunct Professor at the Department of Business Administration, Tokyo Metropolitan University.
The harmonisation process has been a project Council has undertaken since the amalgamation and Council has investigated a number of options to identify the most equitable system. The two former shires had vastly different rating structures and the new structure is far simpler reducing 17 categories and sub-categories to four; Farmland, Residential, Business and Mining.
Whilst the new structure does not change the total value of Council’s rates revenue beyond that which is permissible, it does change the method of allocation, and inevitably will result in major changes from previous years for some ratepayers, especially in the case of rate assessments formerly within rating sub-categories where the rates have historically been substantially lower than those in other categories and sub-categories.
Council has also undertaken a full review of other fees and charges, and has amalgamated the charging structures of each of the former Shire Council areas, and harmonised these charges so that they are uniform throughout the Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council area.
This includes other charges that are levied annually with Rates (Waste, Stormwater Management, On-Site Sewerage Management), and those that are billed quarterly on the Water & Sewer Notice (Water, Sewer and Liquid Trade Waste).