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|Editions > 2000 > July > Green||Wednesday May 22, 2013 - Melbourne Time: 12:12:14|
Residents opt for higher rates to get facilities now
Facilities and improvements worth $70 million are close to completion in Gosford after residents overwhelmingly opted to pay higher rates rather than wait years for the changes.
General Manager Peter Wilson said the strategy to go to residents with the financial options paid off.
"Among other things we needed more sports and youth facilities and upgrading of our CBD area," he said. "We could have provided these in a long term program spanning 15 years.
"The other option was to ask ratepayers if they were willing to pay higher rates to get the facilities now."
In 1997, Council prepared the relevant financial scenarios and presented these to ratepayers through an extensive media campaign including four public meetings. In addition, they went to various other groups of stakeholders to explain the issues.
Council also prepared a Future Financial Strategy Questionnaire outlining the projects Council was proposing and asking respondents to nominate the projects they thought most important.
It proposed that if the consensus opinion was to raise the money and commence construction immediately, Council would raise $36 million in loans while rates would increase 12.6 percent.
"We were assisted in the proposal by being able to point out that we were one of the lowest rating Councils of our type," Peter Wilson said.
We could also show that the increase would work out to a mere $1.17 per week on average for each ratepayer."
As a result of the successful campaign Gosford residents are now already enjoying stages two and three of the Gosford City Art Centre, seven new neighbourhood centres, two new surf clubs, upgrades to other sporting facilities a new youth centre and ownership of coastal urban space.
Upgrading of the CBD is also well underway.
For further information contact Peter Wilson, telephone (02) 4325 8320.
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