Hike rates

Sydney councils seek to raise cash rates

Several NSW councils are making bold offers to raise rates as the cost of living soars, but the moves have proved controversial within their own ranks.

The City of Canada Bay Council in Sydney’s central west voted last week to consult the community on a plan to raise fares by 32.52% over the next four years, 20% more than the “flat rate” provided by the independent regulator.

An internal report said the council was “unable to continue to provide services at current levels…within currently available revenue”, and a special rate increase – if approved by the regulator – would generate additional revenue of $8.28 million over four years.

He also found that after such an increase, ratepayers in Canada Bay would still pay less on average than their neighbors in the Inner West, Lane Cove and Burwood.

Longtime Canada Bay mayor Angelo Tsirekas, whose council will pursue a 32% rate hike over four years.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

Greens councilor Charles Jago told the meeting: “If the council is a vehicle, we are heading towards a situation where we are going to have to exchange it because the wheels are likely to fall off at some point. We can’t go on like this. »

But Labour’s Andrew Ferguson said he did not believe the council had a mandate for such a significant hike, particularly in the midst of a ‘very substantial rise in the cost of living’. “Everyone here [in this room] can afford an increase of that size, but there are a lot of people in the community who can’t,” he said.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption is currently investigating allegations that longtime Canada Bay Mayor Angelo Tsirekas accepted perks from developers, including international flights and accommodation, in exchange for favorable rulings. . He has vowed to fight the allegations.

Earlier in August, Woollahra Council voted to launch a community consultation on a proposal to raise rates by up to 35% over the next three years. In one scenario, the board would raise rates by 17.5% in 2023-24, then another 11.5% the following year.

Only one councilor voted against the idea – Luise Elsing of Residents First – who noted household margins were “getting very thin”.