Cessnock is among 86 NSW councils that have won approval to lift their rates by more than the statewide cap in the coming financial year, reaping millions more for their budgets.
The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) on Monday released its decisions on applications for councils to charge ratepayers more than the pre-set cap.
Cessnock receives a 2.5 per cent rise, 1.8 per cent in addition to the 0.7 per cent rate peg. That matches the change permitted for Lake Macquarie, Muswellbrook and City of Newcastle.
Singleton and Upper Hunter shires will receive 2 per cent rises above the same cap, while Maitland council did not apply to lift its rates for the next financial year.
Cessnock City Council's acting general manager Robert Maginnity said the "modest increase" will allow council to continue to deliver important infrastructure across the local government area.
"Without the special rate variation, Cessnock City Council would have about $8 million less to spend over the next 10 years on much-needed infrastructure, such as roads and parks maintenance areas," Mr Maginnity said.
"The initial proposed 0.7 per cent variation would have significantly impacted council's ability to meet community expectations in these critical areas.
"When rate pegging is less than the cost of delivering services, such as the increased costs of wages, materials and construction, it places extra burdens on councils.
"It also impacts council's capacity to strategically plan for the future and deliver positive outcomes for every resident in the Cessnock local government area."
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The benchmark rate peg is designed to cap the level at which rates rise in a single year.
"The latest rate peg was determined in the low inflation environment at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic," tribunal member Deborah Cope said.
"Since then, high inflation and global uncertainty increased councils' costs. Some councils have demonstrated that without additional funds they will not be able to deliver the projects they have already consulted on and included in their budgets."
IPART noted the most recent rate peg was lower than councils had expected, and that it was reviewing how the rate peg is set "to deal with volatility in economic conditions".
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