TAMWORTH Regional Council has collected more than $20 million in rates from its residents in the past financial years, but the city’s ratepayers still have it better than a number of other regional NSW towns.
New figures, released by the NSW Office of Local Government, have revealed council has increased its residential rate revenue by more than $1.8 million since June 2014.
While council’s collected rate coffers had increased by 9.7 per cent, Tamworth ratepayers are still paying less than their regional NSW counterparts.
According to the report, residents pay an average of $927 in rates in the Tamworth Regional Council area.
It’s notably less than rates in Orange and Albury, where the average rate charges sit at more than $1200.
In Wagga Wagga residents paid, on average, $45 more in rates than Tamworth locals.
Mayor Col Murray said it was ongoing challenge to balance revenue and service delivery, with council controlling six pools, six libraries and 23 halls.
“It is difficult from a delivery point of view,” Cr Murray said.
“Less revenue means less delivery.
“So it comes down to good budgeting.
“We’re continually focusing on efficiencies with work methods and staffing levels.”
Tamworth Regional Residents and Ratepayers Association vice president David McKinnon said the lower rates were a big “upside” for the city.
“On the surface, the ratepayers association is very pleased,” Mr McKinnon said.
“But we’re highly aware there has been a very flat increase to wage and salary growth.”
In the 2015/16 financial year, Tamworth Regional Council made $20,664,000 in revenue from residential rates, with 22,282 assessments in the region.
Council has increased its residential rate revenue by more than $1.8 million since 2013/14 when it collected $18,843,000.
Since then, the number of assessments has increased by 3439, while the average annual rate charge has risen by $56.52.
Low rates helping business
TAMWORTH’S low rates for businesses could be used to attract more services to the city, the ratepayers’ association says.
New figures show Tamworth residents often pay less council rates than they would in other large regional NSW cities.
Business rates in Tamworth also compare favourably with the average assessment in the council area listed at $2971, almost half of what Wagga Wagga ($5386) and Orange ($5696) businesses pay to their local governments.
“It could mean businesses don’t have expensive properties,” ratepayers’s association vice-president David McKinnon said.
“But the lower expense does help to do business.”
Mr McKinnon said Tamworth already has “a number of good facilities which other inland cities don’t have”.
He said the lower business rates paired with potential international freight opportunities in the future could be used to attract more services to town. In the 2015/16 financial year, Tamworth Regional Council collected $5,359,000 from 1806 business assessments.