26 September 2023

Ratepayers to have say in new Council plan

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Homeowners have been invited to have their say on a new scheme to increase transparency over Council rates.

Opening consultation on its Draft Framework and Approach, the Essential Services Commission of South Australia (ESCOSA) said that under the new Local Government Rates Oversight Scheme it would be advising the State’s 68 local Councils on the appropriateness of ratepayer contributions to Councils’ long-term financial, infrastructure and asset management plans.

The ESCOSA said the Scheme was being introduced through amendments to the Local Government Act 1999, which would come into operation on 30 April.

“The Scheme is intended to benefit ratepayers through increased transparency over Council rates, greater confidence that the rates they pay are at the level necessary for their Council to provide the services they value and that Council operations are being undertaken on a long-term financially sustainable basis,” the Commission said.

It said it was now consulting on the Draft Framework and Approach for the Scheme on which it would accept comment to Friday 27 Ma, and had published the initial four-year Schedule and historical information requirements which would apply to the Councils.

The Commission said its advice under the Scheme would address those matters by reference to historical performance and financial trends, drawing on information which Councils were already required to have in place under the Local Government Act 1999.

“The advice will set out that trend information, so as to give context to Councils’ forward-looking plans, and will identify areas where attention or action may be required to better serve ratepayers’ long-term interests,” it said.

The Commission’s 67-page Draft Framework and Approach can be accessed at this PS News link.

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