Rates FAQs

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Rates FAQs

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Description
  

​Councils help local communities run smoothly. They administer various laws and regulations to help maintain and improve services and facilities for the community. These services may include community services, sporting and recreation services, environmental planning, public health, environmental protection and waste collection, treatment and disposal. The rates you pay allow your council to fund these services.​

  

​You should contact Council's Customer Resolution Team on 02 6648 4000 as soon as possible after getting your Rates Notice. We can discuss the options available to help you.​

Our Debt Recovery procedures include the issue of notices for overdue rate instalments.

Council recognises there are cases of genuine financial hardship requiring respect and compassion.  Council has a Financial Hardship Policy which provides guidelines for the assessment of hardship applications.

Interest charges apply to rate instalments that are not paid by the due dates.

  

​You need to complete a pensioner concession application form. Please ensure you bring your Pensioner Concession Card to the Council office when lodging your application.

If you are eligible, what concessions are you entitled to?

To be eligible to apply for a pension rebate on your rates and annual charges you must be the person liable for the rates and annual charges on a property. The property must be your sole or principal residence, and you must have a current pensioner concession card.

All NSW councils give a mandatory rebate to eligible pensioners of up to $250.00 off ordinary rates, $87.50 off water charges and $87.50 off sewer charges.

In addition to this mandatory rebate, Coffs Harbour City Council provides further rebates for the Environmental Levy and Domestic Waste Charges.

Important Information

If you start receiving a pension after the commencement of a quarterly billing period and you meet the above conditions, you can claim a rebate from the start of the next quarterly billing period.

If you cease to qualify as an eligible pensioner, or you sell the property in which you live, you will not be entitled to receive a rebate after the end of the quarterly billing period in which you ceased to be eligible. Therefore, if you were granted a pensioner rebate in advance that you are no longer entitled to, it will be charged back to your rate account for the period pertaining to your ineligibility.

Please contact Council on 02 6648 4000 if you would like further information on pension rebates.

Coffs Harbour City Council Pensioner Concession Policy

Application for Pensioner Concession Form

  

​Under the Local Government Act 1993, the total amount of income that a council can raise from certain rates and charges is limited. This is called the rate peg percentage. The rate peg is determined on an annual basis. Because of rate pegging, a council's overall rates revenue cannot increase by more than the approved percentage increase. If overall land values rise, councils may have to reduce or otherwise adjust the amount of rates levied per dollar so that total income does not grow by more than the approved percentage increase.​

  

​The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal of New South Wales (IPART) determines the rate peg that applies to councils' general income. IPART is the independent economic regulator for NSW. IPART oversees regulation in the electricity, gas, water and transport industries and undertakes other tasks referred to it by the NSW Government.​

  

​IPART determines the rate peg that will apply to all councils for the year using a Local Government Cost Index. The Index assists in calculating the operational costs of councils in New South Wales. The rate peg percentage is calculated by subtracting a determined productivity factor for councils from the Local Government Cost Index. Further details about the methodology IPART uses to determine the rate peg can be found on IPART’s website. ​

  

​Under the Local Government Act 1993 (Act), councils are able to apply for additional increases in general income beyond the annual rate peg amount. This is referred to as a ‘special rate variation’. Under the Act, councils may apply for a single year increase under section 508(2), or a multi-year increase (of between two and seven years) under section 508A. IPART has been delegated responsibility for assessing and determining special rate variations, however the NSW Government has retained responsibility for setting the policy framework under which applications will be assessed. This is reflected in the Government’s Special Rate Variation Application Guidelines, which sets out the assessment criteria that IPART must use when assessing applications. 

Councils may seek a special rate variation in order to undertake environmental works, fund town improvements, redevelop community and civic facilities, address maintenance backlogs and maintain or improve existing service provision. Local councils that are seeking special variations to general income above the rate peg amount are required to submit applications to IPART for review and assessment. 

The council must include details of its intention to apply for a special variation in its draft delivery program and operational plan and must consider any submissions received from the public. If a council’s application is approved, IPART will specify the percentage by which the council may increase its general income. ​

  

​Within rate-pegging, it is possible for some rates to increase by more than the rate-peg limit while others may increase by less than the rate-peg limit. In some cases, rates may decrease from the previous year. A council’s rating structure and valuation changes are the main factors that will determine what happens to rates on an individual property. A general revaluation by the Valuer-General may result in the value of some land in a council area increasing or decreasing by more than other land. Where this happens the rates burden will shift. Councils may decide to vary rating structures from year to year to compensate for this.​

  

​Yes. Rate pegging applies to a council's overall general income and not to rates on individual properties. Within rate pegging, it is possible for some rates to increase by more than the rate peg percentage, while other rates may increase by less than the rate peg limit. In some cases, rates may decrease from the previous year. A council's rating structure and valuation changes are the main factors that determine what happens to rates on an individual property. Rating structures may change significantly from year to year.​

  

​Each parcel of land must be included in one of four categories for rating purposes – residential, business, business city centre or farmland. Council decides which category your property should be in based on its characteristics and use. Most people are charged ordinary rates under the residential category.​

  

​Categories are important, because rates differ depending on the category of the land. So if your land is, for example, categorised as residential you may pay a lower rate per dollar of land value than if your land is categorised as business. If you are not satisfied with the category given to your property, you may apply to council for the category to be reviewed. If you do this, council must notify you of their decision and the reasons for that decision. If you still do not agree with the category given to your property, you may appeal to the Land and Environment Court. You must do this within 30 days of receiving council’s review decision. Contact the court to find out how to lodge an appeal.​

  

​Yes. However, they must notify you of this change and advise that you can seek a review by the council if you don't agree with the category. This notice must also explain your appeal rights to the Land and Environment Court.​

  

​Councils don't determine your land value for rating purposes. Land is valued by the Valuer General under the Valuation of Land Act 1916 (as amended). These valuations are carried out approximately every four years and you should get a valuation notice after it is done. If you don't agree with the land value, you have 60 days to object. The Land and Property Information Division of the Department of Finance and Services will give you an objection form free of charge by calling 1800 110 038 or you can download a form at http://www.lpi.nsw.gov.au/ Even if you lodge an objection, you must still pay your rates while your objection is being considered. Whatever the Land and Property Information Division decide about your objection, they must advise you in writing. If you still don't agree with the valuation, you have limited time to appeal to the Land and Environment Court. The response sent by the Valuer General will explain the final date for an appeal.​

  

​Every year, before the final amounts are fixed, councils must prepare a draft operational plan that includes their proposed revenue policy for the following year. This policy must include details of all rates and charges that the council is proposing to levy on ratepayers. The draft operational plan must be made available to the public.​

  

​The draft operational plan must be put on exhibition to give members of the public an opportunity to comment. This usually happens around April or May each year. Councils must consider any submissions by the public before adopting the plan. This is your opportunity to raise any issues about the rates and charges for the following year. Once the rates and charges have been adopted for a particular year, they cannot be changed until the next year.​

  

​Yes. The Local Government Act 1993 requires councils to levy an annual charge for providing domestic waste management services on all parcels of rateable land for which the service is available, whether or not it is actually used. It is considered that all property owners should contribute to the current and future provisions of waste services.​

  

​Urbanisation has resulted in increases in impervious surfaces and has significantly increased the volume of and pollutant load in stormwater flowing into urban waterways. These flows lead to waterway pollution as well as flooding in some areas. To help councils better fulfil their role in managing these stormwater issues, the Local Government Act 1993 was amended in 2005 to allow them the option of levying an annual stormwater management service charge. The purpose of the charge is to help councils fund new or additional stormwater management activities. These activities may include stormwater pollution prevention, flood mitigation, rainwater and stormwater harvesting, community education programs and stormwater drainage systems operations and maintenance. Councils that choose to levy the charge have to meet certain requirements, including consulting with their community through their annual planning process prior to levying the charge. The maximum amount that a council can charge is $25 for an average residential block, and the charge can only be levied on properties where council provides a stormwater management service.​

  

Ordinary Rates

All rateable land is liable for an Ordinary Rate. The type of Ordinary Rate depends on the rating category (or sub-category) applied to your property.

For Residential and Farmland Categories - the Ordinary Rate is calculated in two parts – the Base Amount, which is the same for everyone, and the Ad Valorem amount, using a rate per dollar multiplied by the property's land valuation.  

For Business Categories (or sub-category) - The Ordinary Rate is calculated using a rate per dollar multiplied by the property's land valuation (a minimum applies).

Get more information about your land valuation.

Special Rate - Environmental

The Environmental Special Rate applies to all rateable land.  The rate is calculated in two parts – the Base Amount, which is the same for everyone, and the Ad Valorem amount, using a rate per dollar multiplied by the property's land valuation. 

The Environmental Special Rate provides funding for environmental projects.  

The determination of projects is based on the assessment of public and council submissions by an advisory committee of Council which includes members of the community. 

For further information on Council's Environmental Levy Program (along with other projects and activities to be undertaken by Council in 2019-2020) please see Council's 2019-2020 Operational Plan.

Sewer Access Charge (Residential)

This charge applies to all land (including vacant land) that is within 75 metres of a sewerage main and able to be connected to Council's sewerage system (whether connected or not). 

Residential Sewer Access (Annual) Charges for occupied land are based on the number of occupations on the property. 

Sewer Access Charges (Non-Residential)

This charge applies to all land (including vacant land) that is within 75 metres of a sewerage main and able to be connected to Council's sewerage system (whether connected or not).

Non-Residential Sewer Access (Annual)

Charges are calculated using the following components:

  • The number and size of water meters servicing the property

  • The Sewer Discharge Factor (SDF) allocated to these meters.
    The SDF, in simple terms, is a percentage of your water usage deemed to be discharged into the sewerage system.

Water Access Charges (Residential)

This charge applies to all land (including vacant land) that is within 225 meters of a water main and able to be connected (whether connected or not). 

Residential Water Access (Annual) Charges for occupied land are based on the number of occupations at the property. 

Water Access Charge (Non-Residential)

This charge applies to all land (including vacant land) that is within 225 meters of a water main and able to be connected (whether connected or not). 

For non-residential properties the charge is based on the number and size of water services at the property.

Waste Management Charges

Waste charges apply to properties serviced by the kerbside collection service or, in the case of vacant land, if the property is able to be serviced.  

Charges are generally calculated on the number of 3-bin services provided to the property. 

Non-Residential premises are charged a minimum of one waste charge for each premise.   

If the property is vacant land you are charged an annual vacant charge until a service is commenced. 

Effluent Charges

This charge applies to properties that are subject to effluent pump-out by Council's licensed Contractor.  

Additional charges (billed by the Contractor) apply for actual effluent removed.  

The annual charge is calculated on the number of pump-out outlets at the property. 

Onsite Sewage Management Fees

Apply to properties where onsite sewage management systems are installed.  The fee is calculated on the number of systems multiplied by the unit price.  Unit prices vary depending on whether the system has been deemed high, medium or low risk.

Trade Waste Annual Charges

This charge applies to properties that discharge trade waste into the sewerage system.

The annual charge is calculated on the number of trade waste generators at the property. 

Stormwater Management Charge

This charge applies to properties that are situated within Council's stormwater catchment areas.  

Residential properties pay a flat annual charge while non-residential properties pay an annual charge based on land area.

Further Information

For further information on Council's rating structure please see Statement of Revenue Policy within Council's 2019-2020 Operational Plan. ​

  

​To change the mailing address for your accounts, a Change of Address Form is required to be completed and signed by the property owner before the change will be recorded.  This process minimises the possibility of unauthorised account changes.

Please Note: A change of address will not be accepted by Council over the telephone. Address changes will also not generally be accepted from a third party acting on behalf of a property owner.

  

You can find out how to receive your rates and water accounts by email here.

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