GLOUCESTER Shire residents can expect to see their rates more than double if a council application for a special rate variation is approved.
Council is proposing an 18 per cent increase to rates to be applied cumulatively over five years from July 1 next year.
If approved, rates would increase by 128 per cent, meaning the average residential ratepayer who currently pays council $616 a year would instead be out of pocket to the tune of $1409 by the time the five years is up.
To put it more simply - after five years a rate of $100 will have increased to $228.78.
Council needs the money to shift its backlog of works, which sits at $74 million.
The annual cost to maintain existing assets at an average condition would be $8.5 million - or double what council currently spends.
General manager Danny Green says council stands to make $36.3 million in additional revenue over 10 years from the increase, which would be spent on the renewal and maintenance of roads and bridges.
“The problem with our deteriorating assets is that the longer we leave addressing their condition, the worse their condition will be and the greater the catch up cost,” he said.
“Our works program for the 18 per cent scenario is a 10-year one. It does not apply any council funds to Bucketts Way or Thunderbolts Way.
“We will continue to put State government funds to these roads and endeavour to increase the ad hoc specific grants released by State and federal governments for application to these roads.
“The 18 per cent solution allows the condition of shire roads to move to an average condition of 2.9 (where five is the worst). A 15 per cent increase would hold us where we are but anything below means a continually worsening condition.”
Council is already able to increase rates each year subject to a pegging limit which reflects the CPI (consumer price index).
“In our scenarios we include the estimated CPI increase of 2.5 per cent,” Mr Green said.
“As an example, an 18 per cent special rates variation includes the 2.5 per cent pegging making an increase of 15.5 per cent.
“The additional funds provided from a special rates variation for roads and bridges will enable the CPI increase to be applied to the rest of the goals of our community strategic plan.”
Council has published an eight-page community consultation newsletter which includes detailed information on the proposal that will be posted to all homes in the shire.
Public meetings will be held at the Senior Citizens Centre next Tuesday, July 15 at 11am and 6pm where members of the public will be able to ask questions of councillors and council staff.