‘A 2.5 percent assumption’: Orange Council CEO David Waddell hopes IPART agrees to variation | Central Western Daily

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THE threat of a service cut overshadows Orange City Council’s fiscal year 2022-2023 budget. OCC is one of 90 local government areas in NSW sweating a decision by an independent pricing and regulatory tribunal, which will hopefully see them raise rates by up to 2.5 percent heading into the new fiscal year. Earlier, IPART had announced that it was basing its rates on population growth, meaning Orange could increase its rates by just 0.7 percent. The councils were later advised that they could request an extra special variation to raise the pen. Chief executive officer David Waddell said Orange City Council planned to approve its 2022-23 budget at its June 23 council meeting. “In that budget will be a 2.5 percent assumption,” said Mr Waddell. According to its website, IPART will announce its decision on June 21. If IPART declines the board’s application, Mr. Waddell said staff will make an effort to revise the planned budget, which is to be cut by $620,000. “I can’t believe the state government would allow such chaos in this environment, with the uncertainty there is,” said Mr Waddell. Mr Waddell said services and staff would be where the council would have to cut back. “We should definitely look at our workforce. We should look at our services. This is operational money, not capital money, so really we should be looking at day-to-day things, not projects.” You’re talking about staff, you’re talking about all the services, good services and programs we provide.” Local Government Minister Wendy Tuckerman and NSW Deputy Prime Minister Paul Toole both addressed the Country Mayors Association conference in Sydney on Friday. Waddell said neither could shed any light on IPART’s stance.The matter was raised at the most recent Orange council meeting where Cr Frances Kinghorn and Cr Glenn Floyd voted against the staff’s recommendation, including the adoption of a resolution who was taken on April 19 to apply for a permanent additional special position.” When we discussed this last time, I had asked for some additional information because I wanted to understand why Orange rates seem to be a bit higher than others municipalities and spending is lower in several areas than other municipalities,” she said at the May 17 meeting. She said the staff gave her a series of t archchats and bar charts. “They were very nice, but they gave me no further information. I then said that I will not support this unless I can understand it. So I will not support it.” Cr Kevin Duffy said he felt IPART should be questioned about its position. “It seems that the IPART tribunal is living under a rock, prices have gone up so much in the last 12 months. Look at the price of bread, milk, fuel is huge, the price of materials has gone through the roof.” can it be only 0.7 percent, if we’ve had 10 or 20 years? [rates] increases of 2.8 or 2.3, 2.5 … all of a sudden when things get out of hand and all prices go up, uh uh, it’s only 0.7 and there hasn’t been a real wage increase in the same period.” To read more stories, download the Central Western Daily news app from the Apple Store or Google Play HAVE YOURSELF Send a letter to the editors using the form below


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