Web­site al­lows ratepay­ers to make State com­par­isons

Southern Telegraph - - News - Ai­den Boy­ham

Res­i­dents in Rock­ing­ham are now able to com­pare their res­i­den­tial rates with those in Kwinana and Man­durah, af­ter the launch of a new web­site from the WA Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion.

In a WA first, res­i­dents can com­pare their rates with any other coun­cil in the State through the knowyour­coun­cil.com web­site.

Ac­cord­ing to data from the web­site, Rock­ing­ham’s av­er­age res­i­den­tial rates in 2015 were $1418.41, while Kwinana’s were slightly more at $1421.07

Man­durah’s av­er­age res­i­den­tial rates were the high­est of the three, ac­cord­ing to the data, at $1508.99.

Ac­cord­ing to WALGA pres­i­dent Lynne Craigie, the new tool is de­signed to give ratepay­ers clar­ity on their res­i­den­tial rates and how they are cal­cu­lated. She also said some lo­cal gov­ern­ments had raised con­cerns over the web­site.

“It is im­por­tant ratepay­ers are able to make an ac­cu­rate as­sess­ment of how their res­i­den­tial rates com­pare on av­er­age, both in the amount paid and the an­nual per­cent­age in­creases, to pro­vide a clear un­der­stand­ing of their in­di­vid­ual sit­u­a­tion,” Cr Craigie said.

“In re­gard to rates, the is­sue that coun­cils raised in re­gard to the re­cently cre­ated State Gov­ern­ment site was that it pre­sented in­for­ma­tion that could eas­ily be mis­in­ter­preted by the gen­eral public.”

Rates growth in­for­ma­tion on the site refers to the an­nual in­crease of to­tal rates rev­enue for each coun­cil and should not be con­fused as a rates in­crease for in­di­vid­ual house­holds.

At the City of Rock­ing­ham’s coun­cil meet­ing in May, coun­cil­lors voted in favour of a mod­er­ate 4 per cent in­crease in rates in 201617. Rather than stick­ing to a 5 per cent in­crease, Mayor Barry Sam­mels used his vote to split a 4-4 de­ci­sion in favour of the lower in­crease.

In­de­pen­dent fi­nan­cial an­a­lysts RJ Back and As­so­ciates were com­mis­sioned to pro­vide the in­for­ma­tion on rates.

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