Port Stephens Council's bid to raise rates by 7.5 per cent per annum over seven years, for a total of 66 per cent, has been rejected by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART).
IPART delivered its determination this morning, rejecting Port Stephens Council's application for a Special Rate Variation (SRV).
If approved, the rate increase would have funded $100 million in projects over 10 years, including rejuvenated town centres, many road and drainage upgrades, better sports facilities, more events, improved community amenities plus a number of new pathways and cycle ways across the entire council area.
Port Stephens Mayor Ryan Palmer said the decision would mean that the council would have to seek additional sources of funding to deliver the projects Port Stephens has been waiting many years for.
"We will continue to apply for grants and advocating for State Government support to deliver projects we know are critical to Port Stephens residents and visitors.
"Many of the things that our community have been crying out for will have to wait to be completed.
"Our Capital Works plan will remain unchanged, which means we'll still be delivering quality services and facilities our community expect. Unfortunately, some works will need to wait. For example, Mustons Road at Karuah, significant drainage improvements at Shoal Bay and the missing pathway link on Gan Gan Road won't begin next year as we had hoped, but will be scheduled for around 2025 when we expect to have funds available.
"This decision is disappointing for many in the community who wanted to see a better and brighter future for Port Stephens," Mayor Palmer said.
More to come