City rates are good value
Council levies, or rates, pay for the many services provided by the City: infrastructure such as swimming pools, halls, parks and roads, and services such as libraries, events, grass-mowing, street-sweeping, rubbish collection and stray-dog collection.
The City provides hundreds of services and employs some 300 people to do these things for us all.
Rates cause some angst, I think because we get a single bill for the whole year. With PAYG (tax), a little bit is taken out of your pay a week at a time. And then you never have to part with it yourself — PAYG tax is taken away before you even see it.
Every August rate notices are sent out. These are calculated by multiplying the gross rental value of your property, which is determined by the State Government, with a percentage or “rate-in-the-dollar”. The total rates collected are based on the amount council determines it needs to provide the community with its services in the coming year. The “rate-in-the-dollar” is varied as property valuations change to give the amount needed to run the City.
This year, council will not increase its total rate take above the inflation rate, which is 1.7 per cent, but individual rates may change if your property valuation changes. Normally the Valuer-General only does this every three years, but this year the State Government has decided to revalue just a few of the FIFO camps around town after one year, and the differences between properties, even those that share a common fence, may now vary by up to 80 per cent.
There are 260 taxes in Australia. Local government raises only one of these, and collects just 3.3 per cent of tax raised by all levels of government. That’s pretty good value to me.