TAMWORTH council has formally lodged its bid to raise rates for its controversial business levy, notifying the independent regulator.
In its formal notification lodged on Monday with IPART – the state’s Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal – council general manager Paul Bennett said the total special rate variation council sought was 17.7 per cent over three years.
In the letter detailing council’s intention to apply for the special rate variation – which is above rate-pegging – council hoped to implement the levy by the next financial year.
Mr Bennett said the special rate variation would be 5.7 per cent in the first year – including 2.7 per cent of rate pegging – and then 5.5 per cent in the following two years.
“The increase would be applied to all business rate categories only,” Mr Bennett wrote in the letter.
“The total cumulative increase of the special variation inclusive of assumed rate peg is 17.7 per cent by year three (2021/22).”
Earlier this month, council wrapped up a series of community consultations with ratepayers in Manilla, Tamworth, Barraba and Nundle on the business levy.
“The increased rate revenue above the rate peg amount for each year is to be specifically used to enable council to established a permanent revenue stream to drive increased economic development through the ongoing attraction, hosting and management of events to the Tamworth Regional Council area,” Mr Bennett said in the formal notice.
Council hopes to raise $600,000 over the three years and the aim is to help attract and retain events in the region and it would cost “the average business premises … around $101 – less than $2 per week”, according to mayor Col Murray.
Several locals raised concerns with council and the Tamworth Business Chamber at the community consultations, wanting to know how the levy would be assessed and where the money would be spent, not just on Tamworth-based events.