In February of this year, Bellingen Shire Council (Council) made an application to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) for a Special Variation to rates and today received formal advice of its approval.
Mayor Dominic King said, ‘While the decision to make a submission to increase rates is never an easy one, I welcome the decision as it means we can continue with Council’s plan to address long term infrastructure issues impacting on our community and ensure the Council continues to deliver outcomes that we know are priorities, for our community”.
The decision to apply for a special variation is part of a broader, long-term plan around community priority and financial sustainability. The revenue generated by the special variation means Council will be able to fund important infrastructure renewal works as part of its sealed roads resurfacing and bridge renewal program and reduce its infrastructure backlog.
Council’s adopted Long Term Financial Plan demonstrates that the Special Variation will be spent only on (road and bridge) infrastructure and over the next 10 years, Council will be able to invest $20 million on a bridge renewal program and $8 million on the roads reseal program.
IPART’s approval means Council will be able to consolidate its efforts on improving Bellingen Shire infrastructure, while focusing on longer term resilience and financial sustainability which is of critical importance in our current economic and operating environment.
The IPART report on the Bellingen Shire Special Variation Increase can be read on their website.