Rural residents fear rate review
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 email@example.com Ellenbrook Secondary College students displaying their WorldSkills medals, reflecting their top results in the VET areas of carpentry, bricklaying and commercial cookery.