City rates are good value

Pilbara News - - News - Peter Long

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.

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