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By Vince Del Gallego, Former Hornsby Shire Councillor

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Hornsby Council spent many tens of thousands of dollars to extensively consult the community on a special rate variation (SRV) of 31.05% over four years. An overwhelming 95.14% of approximately 2,500 respondents rejected this massive rate increase. A clear message – ratepayers are not willing to pay for the SRV.

Council ignored the community’s rejection and will apply to IPART (Independent Pricing And Review Tribunal) for approval, then implementation. This is a massive slap in the face to a significant majority of rate payers who were represented by a very large sample of responders. An absolute waste of ratepayer’s money on an extensive community consultation that went nowhere.

How can Council justify the need to burden ratepayers with its substantial SRV, specially, during harsh economic times? Young families are already struggling with high costs of living. Large mortgages severely impacted by high interest rates. Tenants’ struggle more as rates are absorbed into rental payments. Rising inflation continues to impact everyone’s quality of life. Any substantial rate rises will set a new higher trend increase for future years, a compounding effect!

Council must cut back or postpone non-essential projects to better times, focusing instead on ‘core services’ to preserve community pride and satisfaction. Good financial managers do not budget for a new car, if they do not have the money to pay for it. Nor would they put a non-refundable deposit on a house, just to lose it if there is no money to complete the purchase. We expect Council to budget within their means, thoroughly assessed by IPART.

We can all defeat Hornsby Council’s massive rate increase by standing in solidarity and all lodging our comments to IPART after 3rd February 2023, during the whole month via their website https://www.ipart.nsw.gov.au/submissions-policy

For further information, please contact me on 0420 817 589 or [email protected]

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