Goulburn Mulwaree is among 86 councils that will be allowed to increase general rate revenue over the next financial year
Yass Valley, Wingecarribee and Queanbeyan Palerang have also been approved to raise their rates above a 0.7 per cent rate peg handed down late last year.
The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) announced on Monday that 86 NSW councils would be permitted to increase the amount they raised from general rate revenue by between 1.6pc and 2.5pc.
The special rate variations follow concerted lobbying by councils and peak bodies at state level. They were unhappy with the 0.7pc rate peg set by IPART in March for many of them, saying it was unsustainable and would not meet service demands.
For the first time, the Tribunal had used a new formula, based on population increase, to set the peg. But former Goulburn Mulwaree general manager Warwick Bennett described the 0.7pc as a "slap in the face" that did not consider rising costs, such as fuel, electricity and wages.
He and surrounding councils took up the matter with Goulburn MP and Local Government Minister Wendy Tuckerman.
IPART relented and allowed NSW councils to plead their case for a special rate variation.
Monday's decision means:
For Goulburn Mulwaree, it will mean an increase of $14 to $21 for Goulburn residential ratepayers and $15 for those in Marulan. Under a proposal to Tuesday night's meeting, the farmland rate will rise by $32 to $620 annually.
Overall, it will yield an estimated $575,000 in extra income, rather than the $220,000 under the 0.7pc peg.
The council's corporate services director Brendan Hollands previously said the 2.5pc was more in line with what the organisation and other local government areas traditionally expected.
Following the backlash, IPART says it is reviewing the rate peg methodology to deal with "volatility in economic conditions." The review will also look at the timing of the calculations in a fast-changing economic climate.
"Our review will be looking at how to deal with this challenge in the future," Tribunal member Deborah Cope said.
"...The (original) rate peg was determined in the low inflation environment at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic,"
"Since then, high inflation and global uncertainty increased councils' costs. Some councils have demonstrated that without additional funds they will not be able to deliver the projects they have already consulted on and included in their budgets."
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Ms Cope said the Tribunal was careful to balance councils' needs to maintain services and investment they had already committed to against keeping rates affordable.
Councils were required to show that they had budgeted for higher income than that provided by the rate peg and that they needed the additional money to deliver on the projects they had already planned and included in their budgets.
For several, it meant two sets of rate charges had to be publicly exhibited in their budgets, which must be finalised this month.
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