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Residents to shoulder $280,000 mine rate reduction

Thursday, 24th April, 2014

By By Erica Visser

City Council plans to shift more than $280,000 in mine rates onto residential ratepayers in its 2014/2015 budget.

The move comes after Council last year shifted $875,000, or six per cent, in mine rates onto residents and businesses.

This year’s proposed two per cent shift is being made to further cut Council’s reliance on the Perilya and CBH mines. 

Council will also move to implement the rate peg increase of 2.3 per cent for all ratepayers. 

This means that the base rates for residential properties will rise from $400 to $428 and, for businesses, from $550 to $805.

However, properties recently received new land valuations, meaning that there would be winners and losers across the rate base.

More than 1500 residential ratepayers will see a reduction in the rates paid to Council in 2014/2015 compared to the previous financial year.

The biggest drop in rates is more than $800 for one resident and the greatest rise is over $1000 for another.

Council’s General Manager Therese Manns said at a media briefing yesterday that the changes were “luck of the draw.”

But while the value of some properties may have fallen, this does not necessarily mean there will be a drop in rates. 

“It is important to point out that Council does not receive any additional rating revenue in total than allowed under rate capping, however some residents will see increases and some decreases depending upon the movement with their land valuation compared with the average,” she said.

The mines will now make up 18 per cent of Council’s rate base, but that was still too high, Ms Manns said.

“Broken Hill is significantly higher, from an average mining rate perspective, than any other local government area,” she said.

“What impact are we having on the sustainability of the mines in our town when Council is charging such a high average rate?”

For most NSW Councils, mining rates made up under $200,000 worth of revenue but for Council, that it is now $1.6 million.

Mayor Wincen Cuy said that Council should have gradually reduced its reliance on the mines after the issue was recognised in the 1980s, but subsequent councils had “gone on their merry way” rather than take action.

What spurred the action was the land valuation dispute between Perilya and the NSW Valuer-General that could cost Council $6.9 million or more. 

“Rather than gradually reducing that reliance, we now have to do it a lot quicker,” Mayor Cuy said.

Council’s proposed capital expenditure for the coming financial year is around $4.1 million.

About $2.68 million of this will go towards roads repair programs, some of which are linked to State Government funding. A further million will be put towards building maintenance. 

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