Baw Baw councillors have approved a rate rise of 2.25 per cent for this financial year, the maximum allowed by the state government.
This story was first published in the 5 July 2018 edition of the Baw Baw Citizen.
The recently passed 2018/19 Baw Baw Shire budget also includes a 2.25 per cent increase to waste service charges, which a council report states is because of a Chinese “ban” on importing recyclable waste. This means the standard residential waste charge will rise by $8 for collected premises to $384.
Exactly what you pay for your rates could depend on the results of this year’s shire-wide revaluation, which came into effect on 1 July.
“A revaluation does not provide Council with any additional rate revenue but can significantly re-align how rates are distributed between ratepayers at both a rating group and individual level,” a council officer wrote in a report to councillors.
Despite those changes, much in Baw Baw’s rating strategy has remained the same. Eligible pensioners will still receive an extra $50 rebate, and rates will continue to be billed in four instalments.
The February lump sum payment option dropped in the 2014/15 financial year is still off the table.
Baw Baw will also continue to apply differential rates, which apply surcharges or discounts depending on land usage.
The differential rates are:
- farms at a 10 per cent discount,
- commercial and industrial properties at a surcharge of 20 per cent,
- vacant land at a surcharge of 80 per cent,
- urban living land at a discount of 10 per cent, and
- residential development land at a surcharge of 30 per cent.
The expected total revenue from rates and charges this financial year is $57.2 million. $48.7 of that comes from rates alone, while waste charges are expected to bring in $8 million.
What all this is paying for
Baw Baw’s 2018/19 budget features a $22 million capital works program and still promises a $11.7 million surplus despite rate cap limitations.
Having said that, the cap does seem to have frustrated planners.
“The major challenges have been to meet the needs of the growing population of the Shire, continuing to review its critical infrastructure renewal requirements, improve council’s overall financial position within the constraints of the rate cap,” a council officer said in a report.
The capital works program includes $19.6 million of new works, and $2.4 million in projects from last financial year.
$11.6 million in roads investment makes up the bulk of new investment, while a further $1.4 million will be spent on footpaths.
Drainage will also see a $1.4 million investment, as will “open space investment” which includes lighting upgrade works.
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