Byron Council's bid for special rate rise rejected

BYRON Shire Council’s application for a special rate variation of 5.25% has been rejected by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal.
General rates in Byron Shire for 2011/12 now will rise by the 2.8% rate pegging amount; an extra $28 for an average residential house.
The council’s general manager, Graeme Faulkner, said he was disappointed with the IPART announcement.
Reasons for refusal included the previous approval of seven special rate variations out of the past 11 years and that the council ha failed to identify the underlying reasons why it continually required special rate variations.
Mr Faulkner said that more than 20 years of rate pegging had forced most councils into continuously having to apply for special rate variations with mixed success.
“We’re in a tough position. IPART noted ... that special rate variations cannot be used to service growing community expectations or address the backlog in infrastructure maintenance,” he said.
“These are the two main problems we face within Byron Shire.
“At the same time, Byron Shire faces the individual challenge of managing the impact from almost 1.5 million visitors each year with a small ratepayer base of only 14,500 properties.”

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