Ru­ral res­i­dents fear rate re­view

The Advocate (Perth) - - NEWS - Lisa Thomas

RES­I­DENTS on ru­ral prop­er­ties within the City of Swan say they are con­cerned and con­fused af­ter a let­ter was sent to them in­form­ing of a rate re­view, which could change the use of their prop­erty.

Cur­rently 4000 res­i­dents in the City on ru­ral hobby farms are rated as unim­proved val­u­a­tion (UV) and non­rural land is rated as gross rental val­u­a­tion (GRV).

Now the City is ask­ing ratepay­ers to re­view their prop­erty on whether it is used for agri­cul­tural pur­suits, leav­ing res­i­dents con­cerned the re­view could lead to a rise in rates and open them up to risk of sub­di­vi­sion for those who do not make a liv­ing off their land.

Sally Block from the Gidge­gan­nup Progress As­so­ci­a­tion said the City sent the let­ter to res­i­dents with­out any warn­ing or in­for­ma­tion.

The res­i­dents re­ceived a land use dec­la­ra­tion and were asked to send it back within 21 days, with­out any in­for­ma­tion about what it meant.

“Most of the prop­er­ties in this area are hobby farms and aren’t used for broad acre farm­ing or used to make a liv­ing,” Ms Block said.

“They are just ru­ral prop­er­ties and that’s why peo­ple choose to live here. The City voted on this in their April meet­ing.

“Why wasn’t the let­ter sent out then to give res­i­dents time to un­der­stand it?

“We aren’t against the re­view, we just don’t know what it means.

“Peo­ple are con­cerned this will in­crease their rates. Some peo­ple have two houses on their ru­ral prop­er­ties. Will this mean two lots of rates? We just don’t know.”

The City has ex­tended un­til De­cem­ber 22 the time for ratepay­ers to re­turn their dec­la­ra­tion forms.

How­ever, Coun­cil­lor Char­lie Zan­nino be­lieves more time is needed for en­gage­ment with the com­mu­nity.

He will move a mo­tion for this at next month’s coun­cil meet­ing.

City of Swan act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Mark Bishop said the City un­der­stood there had been con­fu­sion sur­round­ing the UV rate re­view.

“The City has a role in en­sur­ing the rat­ing prin­ci­ples of the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Act are cor­rectly ap­plied to rate­able land within the district,” he said.

“As the use of land can change from time to time, it is im­por­tant for the City to have a sys­tem in place to de­tect land use changes so that the val­u­a­tion method can be mod­i­fied ac­cord­ingly.”

Any­one with con­cerns re­gard­ing the rate re­view can con­tact the City on 9267 9160 or email Ellenbrook Sec­ondary Col­lege stu­dents dis­play­ing their World­Skills medals, re­flect­ing their top re­sults in the VET ar­eas of car­pen­try, brick­lay­ing and com­mer­cial cook­ery.

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