Rate Increases for 2015/16 and 2016/17
As you may be aware, the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) have approved Council’s application for a two-year ‘general income’ increase (income generated by ordinary rates) for 2015/16 and 2016/17. This follows IPART’s approval of the increase approved for 2014/15.
The permanent two-year rate increase of 8.14% for 2015/16 and 7.75% for 2016/17 include the State Government’s rate pegging increases, which for 2015/16 has been set at 2.4%.
These rate increases will generate approximately $4.2 million additional annual rate revenue by the second year, which will be invested in infrastructure maintenance and renewal works to prevent the further deterioration of community assets such as roads, bridges, buildings, playgrounds and amenities.
During our consultation with the community on the proposed rate increases, affordability was raised as a significant concern.
Council listened to this feedback and has decided to freeze water and sewer annual charges, as well as reduce the increase in water and sewer usage charges and reduce inspection fees for onsite septic systems in rural areas for the next three years.
This approach provides a balance between Council’s need to maintain public assets in a useable condition while also being able to continue to provide local services.
Council will also review the progress achieved through the rate rise and other savings initiatives currently underway after the first year (2015/16) and then consider whether it is necessary to apply the approved rate increase for the second year (2016/17).
If you do experience difficulties in meeting rate bill commitments – please do not hesitate to contact Council staff, as we are always willing to work with ratepayers experiencing financial difficulties.
New Land Valuations for 2015/16
Will your new land valuation also have an effect on your land rates? The answer to this is ‘Yes’.
A property’s land valuation is only used in the determination of the ordinary rate and environmental special rate (levy) on your rate notice. Other charges on your rate notice - for storm water, waste, water, sewerage services etc. - are not based on land values. This means that the valuation changes won’t affect these charges.
It is also important to understand that changes in valuations don’t change the total amount of general income (income from ordinary rates) that Council is allowed to raise each year. This total is restricted by rate pegging legislation and any approved special rate variations.
Because rates are based largely on land values, changes in individual land values can affect the amount of ordinary rate and environmental levy applicable to individual properties. In simple terms, the land valuation determines a property’s ‘share’ of the total rate funding that Council can generate. When new values are set, the size of these ‘shares’ can change because some land valuations will increase or decrease compared to others.
Whilst the land valuation process is conducted independently from Council, we are legally required to use the new land values to calculate the ordinary rate and environmental levy for individual properties from 1 July 2015.
The Local Government Act states that all rateable land must be categorised into one of four rating categories (Residential, Business, Farmland or Mining) and the Council must give notice of this category. Your rating category is displayed on your rate notice.
These categories are purely for rating purposes and are not necessarily related to zoning or location. If you disagree with your rating category, application for a review of your rating category may be obtained by contacting Council on (02) 6648 4000.
Other Rate Charges
In addition to ordinary rates, Councils can levy a ‘charge’ whereby the amount charged must relate to the service or benefit provided to the property. These charges can relate to water, sewerage, storm water and waste services and unlike ordinary rates are not subject to rate pegging restrictions.
Further Information Contacts
Further information on local government rating can be found at Office of Local Government or on the back of your rate notice.
Please contact Council on (02) 6648 4000 if you have further questions, or e-mail all rate and water account enquiries to email@example.com