Proposed Additional Rate Increase

This engagement has now closed. Thank you to everyone who participated.

We are seeking community feedback on a proposed additional 3% rate increase – in addition to the 2.4% standard annual increase – to help renew Marrickville's essential community infrastructure.


Funding infrastructure like storm water drainage, roads and footpaths is a constant balancing act for NSW councils. As infrastructure ages and approaches the end of its life, Council needs to plan for its renewal.

Like most local governments, we have a funding shortfall for infrastructure renewal. In Marrickville’s case it is more than $2.35 million every year.

Council proposes to fund the $2.35 million annual shortfall through:

We are seeking community feedback on a proposed additional 3% rate increase – in addition to the 2.4% standard annual increase – to help renew Marrickville's essential community infrastructure.


Funding infrastructure like storm water drainage, roads and footpaths is a constant balancing act for NSW councils. As infrastructure ages and approaches the end of its life, Council needs to plan for its renewal.

Like most local governments, we have a funding shortfall for infrastructure renewal. In Marrickville’s case it is more than $2.35 million every year.

Council proposes to fund the $2.35 million annual shortfall through:

  • $1 million in additional productivity/efficiency gains without reducing services
  • $1.35 million in increased rates.

How much will it cost?

  • The average household will pay an additional 50 cents a week, or $25.50 per year.
  • The average business will pay an additional $3.14 a week, or $163.44 per year.
  • Council is asking, if IPART approves the rate rise, should people who are eligible for the pensioner rebate be exempt from the additional rate rise?

Why is there an infrastructure shortfall?

An independent financial assessment by TCorp (NSW Treasury Corporation) found that Marrickville Council is financially sustainable and compares favourably against similar or ‘peer’ councils.

However like most councils in NSW, Marrickville has an infrastructure shortfall.

In the past three years 73 NSW councils have applied to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) for an additional rate increase. And this year 23 more are applying, including Marrickville. Why?

  • Rate pegging: Many years of rate pegging. The state government has set a limit on income from rates since 1977.
  • Cost shifting: Local Government NSW estimated that NSW councils were left $521m out of pocket in the 2011/12 financial year because of continuous cost shifting by state and federal governments*.
  • Less grant funding: Financial Assistance Grants have been frozen by the federal government – having a 10 year cumulative impact of $2.8m on Council’s long term financial plan.
  • Increasing costs: Enormous increases in insurance fees is just one example of how costs have risen since the 1970s.
  • Increasing services: Council services have increased dramatically in the past 40 years, and Marrickville’s population is now increasing, and is forecast to keep growing.

*Cost shifting is the practice of transferring responsibilities to local government without adequate – or any – funding. Over the years these have ranged from contaminated land and flood controls, noxious weeds, enforcing the Companion Animals Act, street lighting, funding public libraries, and more.

What has been done to make savings?

Initiated in 2009, cost-cutting through an productivity/efficiency plan saw major improvements in Council’s financial position without cutting services. These included new park management practices, improved operational efficiency, and better workplace safety and injury management. More lucrative bus shelter advertising contracts added revenue. Salary savings contributed $2.4m. Council has also generated savings on waste services, with more planned. These initiatives have released more than $3m in funds since they were introduced.

Despite these savings, Marrickville’s estimated infrastructure renewal shortfall was still $5.065m per annum.

We convened a Citizens Jury to help find a solution

In September, Marrickville Council convened a randomly selected ‘jury’ of local residents to assess the infrastructure shortfall and decide what level of infrastructure quality was acceptable to the community, where money should be spent and how funds might be raised. Read more about the MIJ here.

What did the Marrickville Infrastructure Jury (MIJ) decide?

The MIJ set the minimum acceptable condition for a range of infrastructure including roads and footpaths. This reduced the shortfall from $5.065m to $2.354m, a saving of approximately $2.7m per annum. Download the MIJ's infrastructure condition which Council adopted.

How can we address the remaining infrastructure shortfall?

The MIJ recommended Council find efficiencies, and raise money through parking schemes:

  • Council will implement a productivity/efficiency plan to generate an additional $1m per annum
  • Council is investigating how to generate more income from parking fines and parking meters
  • To meet the still-existing shortfall, Council will apply for a small SRV that will mean most households will pay an additional 50 cents a week.

Council is reconvening the MIJ in early 2015 to consider its other recommendations.

What happens if we don't increase rates?

Without the additional funding, the community’s infrastructure assets will deteriorate. Roads will have more potholes and cracking, kerbs and gutters will degenerate, furniture such as seats in public squares will not be replaced when broken, public toilets and grandstands in parks will not be replaced, stormwater pits and pipes will decay and improvements to public buildings will stagnate.

Compare our proposed increased rates with neighbouring councils

The graphs show rates including the proposed rate rise.

Residential rates comparison

Residential rates comparison

Business rates comparison

Business rates comparison

How are rates set?

Each year IPART (the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal) determines the rate peg or the allowable annual increase in general income for councils. IPART also reviews and determines council applications for increases in general income above the rate peg, known as 'Special Rate Variations'. In the past three years, 73 NSW councils have applied to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) for a rate increase. This is because:

  • Many years of rate pegging. The state government has set a limit on income from rates since 1977
  • Local Government NSW estimated that NSW councils were left $521 million out of pocket in the 2011/12 financial year because of continuous cost-shifting by state and federal governments*
  • Financial Assistance Grants have been frozen by the federal government – having a 10 year cumulative impact of $2.8 million on Council’s long term financial plan
  • Enormous increases in insurance fees is just one example of how costs have risen since the 1970s
  • Council services have increased dramatically in the past 40 years, while Marrickville’s population is increasing, and forecast to keep growing

In 2015/16 the rate peg will be 2.4%. Council is seeking community feedback on a Special Rate Variation of an additional 3% on top of the rate peg. IPART will take the community's feedback into account in its assessment of Council's application.

*Cost-shifting is the practice of transferring responsibilities to local government without adequate - or any - funding. Over the years these have ranged from contaminated land and fl ood controls, noxious weeds, enforcing the Companion Animals Act, street lighting, funding public libraries, and more.

What will the proposed rate increase pay for?

The additional 3% in rates will fund renewal of:

  • roads
  • kerb and gutter
  • roadside furniture
  • stormwater pits and pipes
  • park buildings
  • play equipment
  • park paths
  • car parks
  • property buildings

Click here to show how much is required annually to renew each of the above groups of infrastructure to the minimum acceptable condition as determined by the Marrickville Infrastructure Jury.


Council's Updated Delivery Program, Resourcing Strategy, Long Term Financial Plan and Asset Management Plans

These strategic plans have been updated to show the need for and the potential impact of the proposed increase of $25.50 a year to the average household. View the plans in the Document Library.


Find out more and have your say



CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.
  • I would also like to see a list of the roads that the council intends to resurface and the time line as to when the work will be scheduled and completed. Unwins Bridge Road in particular is in an appalling state.

    Peps asked over 4 years ago

    Hi Peps

    You can download the Capital Renewal Budgets and Ten Year Works Program here - this spreadsheet includes (in separate tabs) lists of the roads that Council intends to resurface and the time line as to when the work will be scheduled and completed. This program is based on service levels set by the Marrickville Infrastructure Jury and subject to funding based on the proposed Special Rate Variation increase of $1.35M and the Council Productivity/Efficiency Plan of $1.0M. Please note that Council will decided on 17/2/15 whether to go ahead with the Special Rate Variation, so this Program is in draft form. Additionally our ten year program is renewed and updated annually but nevertheless this spreadsheet gives an excellent view.

    Annie- Community Engagement Team


  • Road surfaces in M'ville are appalling, e.g Unwins Bridge Rd Tempe, Salisbury Rd Stanmore. If Council is proposing a rates increase to fix the roads then as a rate payer I would expect the roads to be tar sealed and smooth. I would like to know which roads Councils plans on resurfacing with the extra money.

    BANICKIYORDY asked over 4 years ago

    Hi Banickiyordy,

    Thanks for your question.

    Council rates our infrastructure on a scale from condition 1 (very good) to condition 5 (very poor). We have 8% of roads now in very poor condition. At the current level of spending ($1,360,000 per annum), we’ll still have 48% of roads in condition 4 (poor) or condition 3 (fair). With the additional 3% rate rise we can bring up our spending on roads to $2,418,000 per annum. This would mean 51% of our roads would be in very good condition. For charts showing what the 3% increase will achieve, please view Infrastructure Renewal minimum acceptable condition as set by the Marrickville Infrastructure Jury (MIJ). If you’re interested in greater detail about the infrastructure, please see the MIJ information pack on the Marrickville Infrastructure Jury project page.

    We are preparing the next four-year capital program that lists roads to be resurfaced. This will be made public once endorsed by the elected Council in 2015.

    Prue-Community Engagement Team




  • 1. I cannot find anywhere (obvious) on the website that shows how the 3% rate rise varies with land value. Do you have a table that shows additional rate payment v's land value, or alternatively how will you calculate each household rate contribution? 2. Will this rate rise be necessary if Marrickville council merges with a neighbouring council, as the state government is planning?

    RichardElliott asked over 4 years ago

    Hi RichardElliott,

    Thanks for your question, and your suggestion of a table showing rates payments for a range of land values (as rates are only calculated on the land value - not the total value of properties). Our Finance section will put together the table and we'll upload it on the site.

    If council amalgamations go ahead, we have no way of knowing what the impact will be on rates - but Marrickville's residential rates are the lowest of the councils that the Independent Panel recommended Marrickville merge with. Please see the graph on the project page above for details.

    Thanks,

    Prue-Community Engagement Team

    Hi RichardElliot, we now have the table Rates vs land values up in the document library as you requested. You can access it by clicking the link.

    Thanks

    Annie-Community Engagement Team

  • I note a significant amount is slated for car parks. What car parks are these and why are they not self-funded through car parking fees?

    therealnatasha asked over 4 years ago

    Hi therealnatasha,

    Thanks for your question. Council provides 23 off street car parks to support the parking needs of the community and businesses. This car park network provides approximately 1,150 parking spaces. There is no budget allocated to their renewal including asphalt, lights and signage, so we do only minor maintenance. Fifteen percent of car parks are in poor or very poor condition. The additional 3% rate rise will enable us to resurface those.

    Only one of the car parks is metered. Lennox Street car park in Newtown - an area with extremely high demand - raised $400,000 per annum for Council through parking meters last year. Council is investigating one of the Jury's recommendations which is to raise more revenue through increased parking meters, parking fines and parking schemes. We are reconvening the Marrickville Infrastructure Jury in early 2015 and will report back to them (and the community) on our findings.

    Thanks,

    Prue-Community Engagement Team