Inner West Council

Why was a Special Rate Variation needed?

Like a number of Councils throughout the State, Ashfield Council is under increased pressure to maintain and improve its important infrastructure, facilities and services. Over the last five years, Council has made significant efficiencies in existing operations and will continue to seize new opportunities. However, excepted savings from efficiencies will be insufficient to cover the additional funds needed to maintain key infrastructure, facilities and standards at the level the community is seeking. If services are not to be cut, the only way of balancing the budget and meeting community needs is to raise the amount of income that Council receives.

The NSW Treasury recently confirmed that Council is financially sound, however the costs of maintaining infrastructure and running services is rising faster than Council's income is being generated. A special rate variation which had been providing Council with an additional $730,000 for spending on infrastructure ended in 2013. Council's infrastructure, particularly the highly utilised Aquatic Centre is ageing and is in need of a significant upgrade for it to remain functional.

This, coupled with the fact that the costs of maintaining the local area's ageing infrastructure and running services are going up faster than the 3% permissible rate increase means additional funds are needed if Council is to continue to maintain and improve services.