Blacktown mayor Len Robinson makes no apologies for plans to increase rate eight per cent above the rate pegging next year.
Councillors will vote on the report tomorrow night, which recommends council apply to IPART for a Special Variation Rate to pay for the $68 million infrastructure backlog.
The backlog is forecasted to be $139 million in 10 years time and $758 million in 20 years if current funding levels for asset renewal were sustained.
‘‘We need to bite the bullet and work out how to fix this up,’’ Councillor Robinson said.
‘‘In the last 30 years, Blacktown City has boomed, which is fantastic. The problem is we have to look after the assets and infrastructure. Somebody has to replace the guttering and resurface the netball courts. For us to get on top of the problem, we need to find $10 million every year for the next 10 years. When I first sat in chair 12 months ago, I was aware we had a problem because I’ve heard the cries from engineers, which were growing to a crescendo. I said that night I don’t intend to leave the mess to my successor.’’
General manager Kerry Robinson said the problem was similar to cracked titles in the roof.
‘‘It’s important to spend money at the right time or the problem continues to grow over time,’’ he said.
Around 75 per cent of ratepayers will see their rates increase by $89.23 next year or $1.72 per week.
Blacktown and Bankstown are the only councils from Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) who haven’t applied for a SRV in recent years.
‘‘Our rates on average are less than most of the WSROC councils,’’ the general manger said.
Council staff looking at the state of assets have identified Carlisle Avenue as a road that needs urgent upgrading.
Blacktown International Sportspark was used as another example.
‘‘We’re proud to have a venue to host international and national competitions,’’ Councillor Robinson said.
‘‘If we want to maintain that important brand for Blacktown, maintenance need to be carried out. Western Australian cricket coach Justin Langer recently personally sought me out to tell me this facility is as good as there is in Australia.’’
Council considered other options but decided a rate increase was the best solution.
’’If we start borrowing money for assets, it will be a never-ending circle,’’ Councillor Robinson said.
‘‘We haven’t been spending money we need to spend. If we spend money now, we can keep assets in a satisfactory condition and cost less further down the track.’’
Council will consult the community the report is endorsed.
‘‘If we keep doing nothing, we’ll end up in a nightmare of deteriorating roads,’’ Councillor Robinson said.
‘‘We’ve got an obligation to the community to maintain these assets. I know we won’t win the popularity stakes but we’ve got to start turning things around.’’