Implementation of the stormwater levy 2017

Frequently asked questions

What is the stormwater levy?

The levy is intended as a mechanism for Councils to raise income to invest in improving the stormwater systems in urban areas. It is in addition to what is raised through general rates and other charges. Councils are audited each year to ensure that any income raised through the levy is spent on stormwater issues and there is no reduction in funding to stormwater issues.

Since 2006 Council has been able to levy a stormwater management charge (the levy) under the Local Government Act & associated regulation. The intention was to treat stormwater in a similar way to both water & sewer access charges where there is a base level charge on property owners. Council has levied the charge for the first time from 2017/2018.

How much is the levy?

The levy is capped in the legislation at $25 per property for residential properties and $12.50 for lots in a strata scheme. Business properties will be charged at $25 per property in the first year and then $25 per 350m² of impervious surface area per property in subsequent years.

Which properties does it apply?

The Stormwater Levy is restricted to business or residential rated properties generally within an urban (or non-rural) area. Land in rural areas (including rural residential) are excluded from the charge. Public land, vacant land or land belonging to charities is also excluded.

Aerial photography and existing rating/billing information was used to determine the properties where the charge will be applied. Some inspections were completed to verify if lots were vacant.

What can I do if I think the levy shouldn’t be applied to my property?

If you think the levy should not apply to your property, then you will need to appeal the application of the levy in writing. All correspondence should clearly reference the particular property and be addressed to the General Manager, Kempsey Shire Council, PO Box 3078 West Kempsey 2440. A review will be undertaken and a formal response provided.

How much money will this raise and where will it be spent?

The levy is expected to raise around $200,000 of additional funds. These additional funds have been allocated to projects through the adopted Delivery & Operating plans over the next four years and beyond. A table with the projects planned for the next four years is at the end of this document.

What can the levy be spent on and what can’t it be used for?

Income from the levy can be spent on the planning, construction or maintenance of drainage systems, treatment devices and/or stormwater harvesting/reuse. It can also be used for education or as a contribution to the total cost of pollution reduction activities, water quality monitoring or water flow monitoring.

The levy can’t be used for general activities undertaken by the council which may relate to stormwater management such as parks, gardens, riparian vegetation, bushcare, street sweeping or kerb and guttering. There are some exceptions where the link between the activity is strong.

Why is stormwater an issue?

Increasing urbanisation has resulted in an increase in water-resistant surfaces and has significantly increased the volume of stormwater flowing into our waterways. The result is extensive litter, sediment and chemicals flowing into urban waterways as well as causing flooding in some areas. Most stormwater infrastructure is buried in the ground and it isn’t until something goes wrong that it becomes a problem. The levy is intended to raise funds so that Council can better deal with stormwater issues relating to both the quantity of stormwater produced and the quality (or contamination). Without this Council’s response will remain limited to events where the system(s) have failed.

What is stormwater management?

Stormwater management involves the use of physical structures and treatment techniques and monitoring to improve stormwater quality and lessen excessive flows. The aim is to reduce pollution in our stormwater and slow the flow of stormwater.

Why am I being charged a stormwater levy?

The revenue raised from the stormwater levy will allow council to cover costs to implement projects from the West Kempsey, Crescent Head and South West Rocks stormwater system investigation in relation to capacity and water quality as well as maintain and repair existing drainage systems.

Who benefits?

Property owners will benefit through improved drainage and reduction of potential damage to their property. The wider community will benefit through improved drainage system performance/operation and discharged water quality.

Do I need to have kerb & gutter or be physically connected to the stormwater system?

No, not necessarily. Properties may be charged if they are within an urban area and if they benefit from Council’s Stormwater Management Service. In some areas the program of works from the stormwater levy will support the extension of new kerb and guttering within the roads program. Over time improvements will be achieved throughout the whole system to increase capacity and treat the stormwater to improve its quality. This will benefit everyone.

Are there any rebates like the ones I get for my rates?

The mandatory concessions that apply to ordinary rates, domestic waste management, water & sewerage don’t apply to the stormwater levy.

Schedule of works for the stormwater levy
Project 2017/2018 2018/2019 2019/2020 2020/2021
GPT upgrades South West Rocks & Crescent Head (14 of) $105,000      
GPT cleaning - additional frequency & maintenance $15,000 $15,000 $25,000 $15,000
Urban open drain cleaning & repairs $7,500 $5,000 $5,000 $5,000
Urban stormwater pipe cleaning $15,000 $5,000 $10,000 $5,000
Install lockable grates to prevent disposal of waste into stormwater $25,000 $15,000    
GPT outlet treatments       $50,000
Dangar/Tozer Street, West Kempsey - augmentation 375mm 30m $25,000      
Hodgson Street, Crescent Head - augmentation       $38,150
Korogora Street to Hodgson Street, Crescent Head - augmentation A8       $87,200
Frederickton trunk drainage   $150,000 $150,000  
John Street, Smithtown - new pits, pipe & outlet/flap to drain sag point 30m     $8,000  
Hat Head - investigate future needs $7,500      
Stuarts Point - investigate future needs   $10,000    

Note: GPT = Gross Pollutant Trap