FARM RATE HIKE
Council intervenes to offset rural property valuation blowout of 17.41%
RURAL property owners will pay less of a share in rates in 2018/19 under draft rating strategy, and budget documents to reduce the impact of skyrocketing property valuations.
It comes as the value of rural zoned properties have escalated 17.41 per cent in the past two years, prompting Rural City of Wangaratta council to propose the reduced share in the budget currently on public exhibition.
The Fair Go Rates system determines the maximum council’s rates income can increase by (2.25 per cent in 2018/19), but this does not mean everyone’s rates go up by a blanket amount.
Valuations conducted on behalf of the Valuer-General Victoria determine how the rate is distributed, according to the Capital Improved Value (CIV) of a property.
Rural City of Wangaratta mayor Ken Clarke said the spike in rural property valuations meant council had to intervene.
“The value of Rural 2 (farms above 40ha in size) properties has gone up by 17.54 per cent, while general properties have gone up by just 7.08 per cent,” he said.
“It means that if we did nothing, then rates for many residents in the city would actually go down, while farmers would receive a significant rates hike.”
Council’s Draft Rating Strategy 2018-2022 is currently on exhibition and proposes reducing the Rural 2 rate to 65 per cent of the general rate, while the Rural 1 rate (between 2ha and 40ha in size) would be 70 per cent of the general rate.
This is also reflected in the Draft Budget 2018/19, which is on exhibition until June 6.
Even with the reduction, rates for General Residential properties would rise by 1.03 per cent (or $13 on average) in 2018/19, compared to an average increase of 5.93 per cent for Rural 2 properties.
This does not include waste, recycling and organic charges, or the State Government’s Fire Services Levy.
The Draft Rating Strategy includes a number of recommendations aimed at providing equity in the distribution of rates.
Cr Clarke encouraged anyone interested to read the draft strategy, with copies available at the Wangaratta Government Centre, Wangaratta Library and on council’s website.
Pop-up consultation sessions will be held at the following times and venues:
Thursday, May 17, 8.30am–11am at Women in Leadership Breakfast;
Friday, May 18, 3pm–5.30pm at Springhurst Community Hall;
Saturday, May 19, 8.30amnoon at Moyhu Farmers’ Market; and
Thursday, May 24, 9.30am–11.30am at Wangaratta Saleyards.