Council to stay with 2.0% rate cap for 2017–18

Monday, 31 July 2017

On Monday 31 July, the Essential Services Commission (ESC) released its decision on Council’s application for a one-off higher rate cap of 4.5% in the 2017–18 rating year.

After due consideration, the ESC has advised Council that the application has not been approved. As a result, Council will proceed with a rate cap of 2.0% in 2017–18, as set by the Victorian state government in December 2016.

Council is committed to the responsible development of its longer term planning framework to ensure that the Borough remains independent and financially sustainable. Accordingly, Council will hold a Special Meeting on Thursday August 10 to consider a revised draft Budget and draft Implementation Plan for the 2017–18 financial year.

The Special Meeting of Council will be held at 5.00pm in the Queenscliff Town Hall, 50 Learmonth Street, Queenscliff. Members of the public are very welcome to attend. The Special Meeting has been advertised via a public notice in The Geelong Advertiser and on Council’s website, www.queenscliffe.vic.gov.au.

Council made the application for a one-off higher rate cap in 2017–18 to address a number of long term financial challenges and to enable it to plan responsibly to achieve the aspirations and priorities identified by the Borough community and Council in the development of the draft Council Plan 2017–2021.

“Although the ESC’s decision is disappointing news, Council is now looking to the future and the consideration and endorsement of our revised Budget and Implementation Plan,” said Borough of Queenscliffe Mayor, Cr Tony Francis. “We have learned a lot from this process and given the ESC’s decision, will now consider a draft 2017–18 Budget based on the state government’s 2.0% rate.”

After considering the application, the ESC found that Council has the financial capacity to manage in the short term and noted that the level of community engagement was appropriate to the Borough’s size and resources. However, the ESC found that Council’s long term planning framework is not yet extensive enough to provide sufficient evidence to meet the legislative criteria for a higher rate cap.

A copy of Council’s application, including a summary of feedback from the Borough community and Council’s responses to the ESC’s request for information and additional questions, is available on the ESC’s website, www.esc.vic.gov.au.

Council will be reviewing the ESC’s feedback with the ESC over the coming weeks, to ensure that all aspects of the decision are clearly understood.