Water/sewer pricing review delivers savings to average residential ratepayer

Residential ratepayers in Queanbeyan will see a reduction of around $20 on their overall rates, water, sewer and waste bill from Queanbeyan City Council in 2016-17 under the draft Revenue Policy. The draft Policy will also see decreases of around $300 for Googong residents.

Council has undertaken a major review of its water and sewer pricing structures over the past 12 months, and coupled with a rate peg limit of 1.8%, ratepayers will be slightly better off in the 2016-17 financial year.

The review also recommended that water consumption be charged as a single tier, which is a win for Queanbeyan families. In the past, Council has charged a higher rate per kilolitre ($4.56) for any water use greater than 44 kilolitres per quarter. The standard rate for all water consumption is proposed to be $3.72.

“Council’s adopted Long Term Financial Plan included increases for water and sewer charges of 9.5% and 13.5% respectively over a 10-year period. This was not a sustainable way forward for the community and Council initiated a review of our pricing structure by Aither which provided an alternate approach,” Council’s General Manager, Mr Peter Tegart said.

“The review has also ensured that Council’s pricing structure complied with the NSW Office of Water’s Best Practice Management of Water Supply and Sewerage Guidelines.

“Guided by the Professor Allan of Council assets and finances, Aither recommended decreases to the majority of water access charges, however due to the impending upgrade of the Queanbeyan Sewage Treatment Plant, increases were required for sewage charges. Overall, this provided a $71 reduction in costs for the average residential ratepayer.”

Ratepayers with 80mm connections, including some motels and State Government-owned properties, will face sharper increases, however Council’s Rates and Charges Committee will be investigating ways to transition those non-residential ratepayers into the new structure. Increases will also occur to ratepayers with 100mm connections, however currently all 100mm connections are on Council-owned buildings.

In terms of general rates, Council will be applying the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal’s rate peg limit of 1.8% to its rate base. Some ratepayers will see variations in their general rates due to a revaluation of land in Queanbeyan by the NSW Valuer General. Valuations increased overall by 2.22%, with increases of 1.71% in the residential categories, an increase of 18.91% in the farmland category and a decrease of 1.53% in the business categories. Council’s total revenue received from ordinary rates does not increase as a result of the general revaluation. The total income from ordinary rates can only increase by the percentage of the rate peg, which is 1.8%. The ordinary rate on individual properties may change at a greater or lesser percentage than the allowed rate peg, depending on the percentage change of their valuation when compared to the average change of their relative rate category.

After seeing no increase in the 2015-16 financial year, Council’s waste management charges are proposed to increase by 2% for 2016-17.

The draft Revenue Policy, along with Council’s draft Operational Plan (including budget) and Schedule of Fees and Charges is on public exhibition until from 29 April until 27 May and can be viewed on Council’s website