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Why do we pay Council rates?

The City of Whyalla is responsible for maintaining approximately $384 million worth of community assets which includes local roads, bridges and footpaths, stormwater drainage, land and buildings. In addition, we provide services for the benefit of our residents such as waste management, street lighting, marinas, libraries, an airport and child care centre.

There are also certain services that councils are required to provide under various Acts of Parliament such as planning and development and dog and cat management. The reality is that these services cost a lot of money and Council rates are the main source of funds to maintain these services and facilities.

At the City of Whyalla we produce a Strategic Plan and 10 Year Forward Financial Estimates that outline the long term priorities and objectives, including infrastructure needs for the community, and the costs to deliver them. This provides the framework for determining the level of rates, debt and service provision for the community.

In 2017/2018 the City of Whyalla needs funds of $35.7m (excluding Brought Forward), $28m is operating revenue which includes $15.6m in general rates and $3.3m in Waste Service Charges less remissions. This means the average residential ratepayer will pay an increase of 1.9% or 64 cents per week more than the previous year.

How are my rates calculated?

The Strategic Plan, which outlines Council's five year objectives and priorities, provides the basis for the Annual Business Plan and Long Term Financial Plan. The Annual Budget is developed from the strategic documents. This shows the cost to deliver services and provides the framework for determining the level of rates, debt and service provision of council.

Once this framework is adopted, the parameters for the budget and the level of rates required to balance the budget are determined. The amount of rates payable by the ratepayer is determined by multiplying their property value by the rate in the dollar plus adding the fixed charge.

In the City of Whyalla, we have a differential rating system and therefore a different rate in the dollar is calculated depending upon the location of the property and its use.

If you believe that your property has been wrongly classified as to its land use, then an objection may be made (to the council) within 60 days of being notified of the land use classification. It is important to note that the lodgement of an objection does not change the due date for payment of rates.

Council has declared the following rates:

A general rate on all rateable land within its area based on two components:

  • value of the land subject to the rate; and
  • a fixed charge.

A service charge on all rateable land within its area to which it provides a service for the collection, treatment, disposal and management of waste.

A separate rate for the purpose of a Natural Resource Management levy on all rateable land situated in the area adopted by council based on a fixed charge.

Property valuations do not determine the rates income to Council

Valuations are only used to determine how much each ratepayer contributes to the total rates required.

What if I don't agree with the valuation of my property?

Your property's site value assessment comes from a State Government valuation adopted by the council. If you have an objection, query or appeal in relation to this property valuation, please contact the Valuer-General within 60 days of receiving your annual instalment rates notice. Objections should be forwarded to:

State Valuation Office
GPO Box 1354
ADELAIDE SA 5001
Phone: 1300 653 345

If your objection is upheld, the Valuer-General will advise Council and your rates notice will be amended.

What rate relief measures are available?

Council has budgeted to support rate relief options across the City. This money will reduce rates levied for eligible pensioners, those in the community whose rates increase by more than 25% and community organisations who provide subsidised support services to meet community expectations in areas such as aged care, sport and recreation and education.

Council will continue to provide a refuse service charge concession for eligible pensioners.

Senior ratepayers may also be eligible to apply to council to postpone payment of rates on their principal place of residence. Postponed rates remain as a charge on the land and are not required to be repaid until the property is sold or disposed of.

Council's Rate Policy and Application Form are available at the council office. The Local Government Act permits a council, on the application of a ratepayer, to partially or wholly remit rates or to postpone rates, on the basis of hardship.

Payment of rates

Quarterly payments due:

  • 1 September 2017
  • 1 December 2017
  • 2 March 2018
  • 1 June 2018

A quarterly rates notice will be sent to ratepayers 30 days prior to each due date. A ratepayer may also pay their rates in a single installment due by the September of that year.

The Local Government Act provides that councils impose a penalty of a 2% fine on any payment for rates that are received late. A payment that continues to be late is then charged an interest rate, set each year according to a formula in the Act, for each month it continues to be late.

The council allows a further two working days after the due date for payment as a grace period before applying the late payment penalties in the Local Government Act.

Any ratepayer who may, or is likely to, experience difficulty with meeting the standard payment arrangements is invited to contact Denise Zerna on 8640 3444 to discuss making alternative payment arrangements.

For more information contact council:

Civic Building, Darling Terrace, Whyalla
Phone: (08) 8640 3444
Fax: (08) 8645 0155
Email: council@whyalla.sa.gov.au
Website: www.whyalla.sa.gov.au

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