Rates 2020–2021 FAQs

What are differential rates?

Differential rates mean there is a different rate in the dollar for different groups i.e. residential, commercial and industrial. The reason for them is so one group isn’t burdened by rate increases more significantly than others.

How are my rates calculated?

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The rates paid on a property is calculated based on the potential rental value of the premises and the operating requirements of Council. The rates you pay are a proportionate share of what is needed by Council to provide local services and facilities. That is, if your home has greater potential rental return than your neighbours, you will pay a higher share of the total rates budgeted by Council.

What can make my rates go up?

Your rates can increase if Council requires more funds to provide local services and or facilities. For example, if it builds new facilities, adds services or implements new initiatives.

Rates can also increase if your property increases in potential rental value faster than others in your area. For example, if you make improvements to your home that increase its rental value then your share of rates will increase.

Council budgets and consequently funds required through rates are also affected by changes made by other sectors of government. For example, if the state government increases its charges for power and water, or adds to the street lighting, that increase in cost will need to be met by councils.

What is the Emergency Services Levy?

The state government requires councils to collect the Emergency Services Levy from ratepayers. The funds raised go to the Department of Fire and Emergency Services. The funds do not go to councils and the rate charged is not set by councils.

When are my rates due?

Notices Issue Date Due date
Annual notice 25 August 2020 Due 2 October 2020
Second instalment 30 October 2020 Due 2 December 2020
Third instalment 15 January 2021 Due 23 February 2021
Fourth instalment 23 March 2021 Due 28 April 2021

 

Do pensioners get a discount on rates?

Pensioners with a valid seniors or concession card have been entitled to rate reductions depending on their status on council rates, water charges and the Emergency Services Levy. On 1 July 2016, the state government capped the rebate to pensioners at 50% of their rates up to $750.

Do I have to pay my rates all at once?

We understand that sometimes people experience financial hardship which makes it difficult to meet all of their financial commitments when they are due. Please contact the Town’s rates department to arrange a suitable payment arrangement to settle your rates by the end of the financial year.

How can I get more information about the budget?

A copy of the budget is available in the Annual Budget section of the website or alternatively community members can call 9311 8111 to speak to one of the Town’s Finance officers.

How much will my rates go up this year?

On average rate payers should pay the same, or less, as last year depending on how their individual Gross Rental Value has moved.

Why did Council choose not to increase rates?

Due to the impact of COVID19, Council was conscious of balancing the need to maintain the operating costs of essential services for the community against the strain of the current economic climate and cost of living. As such, Council deemed it appropriate to provide assistance to ratepayers via a variety of financial relief options, one of which was the endorsement of a 7.88% reduction in rates.

How was Council able to achieve a 7.88% reduction?

The 2020/2021 Annual Budget was prepared utilising a zero-based budgeting approach which identified major productivity gains across the organisation. In addition Council has also drawn down on reserves to fund capital projects.

Does that mean I will pay the same amount as my rates notice last year?

As Gross Rental Valuations were carried out by the Valuer General’s Office this year, there have been some variations across the Town. However, the vast majority of rate payers should pay the same or less than last year.

What do I get for my rates?

Income generated from rates is used to provide services run from facilities such as the library, leisure centres as well as community development programs such as events, public art programs and safety initiatives. Your rates also helps to provide essential services such as waste collection, and is used for maintaining and improving the Town’s infrastructure such as parks, roads, footpaths and drainage and provide services relating to environmental health, animal control, local business support.

How do my rates compare to other local governments?

It is not reasonable to compare rates (and rate rises) with other councils as each council is unique in growth, services, and residential property versus commercial property ratios. The majority of local governments have already indicated a 0% change in rates this financial year. In recognition of these unprecedented times the Town of Victoria Park has adopted a 7.88% reduction in rates.

How does the state and federal government impact the Council budget?

Increased cost shifting and legislation from state government means increased administration costs for councils to facilitate the collection of fees for various services and rebates. If the state government increases the cost of power, water and other utilities, these costs are passed on to you via rate increases.

All councils also rely on and compete for additional funds from the state and federal government through assistance grants and funding bid opportunities. Without these we would not be able to implement large scale infrastructure projects or subsidise health and safety initiatives such as installing CCTV cameras.

How reliant is Council on rate revenue?

Around 76% of Council’s operating revenue budget is met through rate revenue.

What if I can’t pay my rates?

A payment arrangement can be made if you are unable to pay in full or by instalments. The Town has also adopted a Financial Hardship Policy. Please contact the Rates Team to discuss your options.