Slight rise in residential rates to offset reduction for business

FAIR AND SUPPORTIVE: Nowra district business rates are expected to come down in 2016-17 and Councillor Allan Baptist thinks this will boost and help sustain the Shoalhaven economy and build future employment.

FAIR AND SUPPORTIVE: Nowra district business rates are expected to come down in 2016-17 and Councillor Allan Baptist thinks this will boost and help sustain the Shoalhaven economy and build future employment.

Business can look forward to a rates reduction in the Nowra region, notably in the CBD, offset by a slight rise in residential rates in 2016-17.

Council general manager Russ Pigg has revealed “some business reductions will be substantial, particularly for Nowra CBD, where they pay higher rate than other parts of the city and have lobbied council for three or four years”.

However he promises residential increases will be modest.

Dairy farmers’ rates will rise, to equal what other farm enterprises pay.

“To make up the business reduction but stay within the allowable 1.8 per cent increase pegged for the general purpose rates by the State government, we would pick up $18 to $20 from all residential ratepayers,” Mr Pigg said.

“Business is important in providing services, opportunities and employment to residents, so if it means an average for residents to pay an additional $18 to $20 that seems like a small price.”

Mr Pigg invites Shoalhaven ratepayers to engage in “sensible debate” at any of three public meetings, including Nowra and Huskisson, to hear more about proposed rates and projects planned for the coming year.

Shoalhaven Council staff will present and explain the proposed ratings and draft budget for 2016-17 at each meeting.

The plan follows a review of council’s rates structure by consultants KPMG.

“This proposal comes after a needed review and provides fairness and a supportive boost to sustaining the [Shoalhaven] economy and building future employment,” said Councillor Allan Baptist.

"It is good news for our burgeoning small businesses as well as our medium-to-large sized enterprises.”

Dairy farm increases may be above the 1.8 per cent pegged rate but still enable council not to exceed the general purposes cap.

“There no longer seems to be justification for the reduction council introduced during dairy deregulation in the mid-2000s when those farmers were doing it tough and they now seem to be over it,” Mr Pigg said.

“During the exhibition period and public meetings I hope residents and business owners turn up and engage in a sensible debate,” he added.

The Nowra public meeting will be at 7pm at the School of Arts on Thursday April 28 and the day before, Wednesday April 27, 7pm at Jervis Bay Maritime Museum, Huskisson.

Council’s rate calculator, due online this week, will enable residents to see proposed rate changes  for businesses or residential properties.

The draft budget and plan contains significant capital spending, including major roadworks and sewerage systems.

“We are encouraging everyone to be part of this process,” Mr Pigg said.

Major projects include $3.6 million for road repairs, $3.3 million for road resealing, $1.2 million specifically for Coolangatta Road at Shoalhaven Heads, $2.1 million for waste management vehicles and plant equipment, $182.5 thousand for extension to the chapel and cremator at the Nowra lawn cemetery, $150 thousand for the Community Hub at Vincentia and $300 thousand car for parking at Sussex Inlet.

You can make a submission by email to council@shoalhaven.nsw.gov.au or by letter to the general manager quoting reference 52309E. The deadline for submissions is May 18.

You can view the budget and Draft Delivery Program & Operational Plan 2016-2017 online at www.shoalhaven.nsw.gov.au, administration offices at Ulladulla and Nowra and council libraries.

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