Muswellbrook Shire Council determined to keep rates lowest in the Hunter region

MUSWELLBROOK Shire Council is determined to keep rates and charges - from all sources - the lowest in the Hunter.

And, according to recent data, they're doing just that, with the local area faring way better than neighbouring LGAs Cessnock, Dungog, Mid-Western, Maitland, Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Port Stephens, Singleton and Upper Hunter.

In his fortnightly Muswellbrook Chronicle column, Talking Point, mayor Martin Rush said council understood affordability was an issue for residents.

He stated the average household paid $14.80 per week in land rates, which funded all of the community's core local government services.

"That's less than 1 per cent of average household weekly income," Cr Rush said.

"The 2019/20 rate pegging limit was set at 2.7 per cent by the NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART).

"Rate pegging limits the amount by which the General Rates levied in your rates notice are increased.

"The rate peg does not apply to the service charges relating to water, sewer, waste and stormwater.

"The water availability charge levied on the rate notice allows access to council's water reticulation system and sewer.

"Water usage is charged separately."

For residential properties, a flat charge is levied on all properties able to be connected to the sewer.

For non-residential properties connected to the system, no charges are included on the rates notice and sewer charges are levied in accordance with water usage, meter size and type of business.

The Domestic Waste Service Charge is set at a rate that covers the cost of kerbside collection and the disposal or recycling of the collected waste.

"Council is also required to collect payment on behalf of Hunter Local Land Services for a catchment contribution," Cr Rush wrote.

"The contribution applies to all properties with a land value over $300 within the catchment area and is calculated based on the land value of your property.

"Overall, Muswellbrook Shire residents pay the lowest rates and charges of any local council area in the Hunter region.

"And, council is determined to keep it that way."