The low­down on the re­cent rates re­lease and what it means for you:

Mara­noa res­i­dents call for an­swers re­gard­ing rates and reval­u­a­tions

The Western Star - - FRONT PAGE - Mar­guerite Cud­dihy Mar­guerite.Cud­dihy@west­ern­starnews.com

MARA­NOA Re­gional Coun­cil rates no­tices have hit let­ter­boxes for the first time since the newly adopted bud­get in­cluded a rates rise.

As a re­sult of the 2017–18 coun­cil bud­get re­leased at the end of July, the min­i­mum gen­eral rate, cents in the dol­lar rate and ser­vice charges have in­creased by an av­er­age of 3.37%.

Res­i­dents said they ex­pected a rates freeze or re­duc­tion after the Valuer-Gen­eral re­ported a 54.6% drop in me­dian res­i­den­tial land value across the re­gion last year.

Life­long Roma res­i­dent Helen Mur­phy falls into the Res­i­den­tial C cat­e­gory (land value $70,001-$200,000) and her land is val­ued at $74,000.

Ac­cord­ing to Ms Mur­phy’s rates no­tice, she has to pay the min­i­mum gen­eral rate on her prop­erty.

Rates are cal­cu­lated on each prop­erty by mul­ti­ply­ing the value of the land by the rate in the dol­lar.

“When the rates are cal­cu­lated with the rate in the dol­lar fig­ure, I’m ac­tu­ally pay­ing rates that are the equiv­a­lent of a prop­erty val­ued at over $88,000,” Ms Mur­phy said.

“Be­cause I’m pay­ing the min­i­mum rate for my cat­e­gory, I’m pay­ing $200 more each year than I should be.

“Peo­ple see the word ‘min­i­mum’ and think they’re pay­ing the least amount for their rates, when they’re not,” Ms Mur­phy said.

“That’s smoke and mir­rors, it’s not le­git.”

Erika Toth has owned a res­i­dence in Roma for the past 11 years.

Ms Toth’s prop­erty was val­ued at $132,000 un­til last year’s reval­u­a­tions, when it de­creased to $59,000.

“De­spite my land value de­creas­ing, my rate in the dol­lar has dou­bled,” Ms Toth said.

“Don’t we elect coun­cil­lors to do what the peo­ple want?

“I thought we elected them to rep­re­sent us.”

Deputy Mayor Jan Cham­bers said the re­gion had 6990 rate­able prop­er­ties and 50 dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories of rates.

“There is def­i­nitely some mis­un­der­stand­ings in the com­mu­nity about what val­u­a­tions mean for rat­ings,” Cr Cham­bers said.

“In the case of rat­ing, the val­u­a­tions are sim­ply the method used to al­lo­cate the cost of pro­vid­ing ser­vices across the com­mu­nity.

“If the val­u­a­tions go down, it doesn’t mean that it costs any less to pro­vide the ser­vice,” she said.

“Rat­ing cat­e­gories have changed be­cause it was the best way of try­ing to group prop­er­ties that had sim­i­lar val­u­a­tion im­pacts,” she said.

“The cat­e­gories en­able coun­cil to set the rate in the dol­lar so that enough rev­enue can still be col­lected to pro­vide the ser­vices re­quired.”

Cr Cham­bers said 978 ratepay­ers will see a re­duc­tion in their rates of greater than 10%, and 2163 ratepay­ers will see a re­duc­tion be­tween 0 and 10%.

Cr Cham­bers said coun­cil­lors would be meet­ing with com­mu­ni­ties across the re­gion through­out Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber to dis­cuss res­i­dents’ pri­or­i­ties for coun­cil in their lo­cal area.

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