Q: Why didn’t my rates go up by 1.5%
A: The Fair Go Rates System caps the average rate increases to 1.5% for the 2021-22 financial year. Movements in property values can affect the rate increase for individual ratepayers, however, across the shire the average rate increase will be 1.5%. Waste charges and the Fire Services Property Levy also appear on a rates notice and are not capped.
Q: How is my property valued?
A: Each property within the municipality is revalued every year. From the 1 July 2018 the Valuer General Victoria performs revaluations on all properties in Victoria annually, they have contracted Opteon, a property and valuation and advisory service, to conduct the revaluations in Surf Coast Shire. Property owners have 3 months from the receipt of their initial rates notice to challenge the valuation. The property value is used to calculate rates.
Q: What is the Fire Services Property Levy?
A: Rates notices also contain the Fire Services Property Levy, which is collected on behalf of the State Government and used by them to fund both the metropolitan and rural fire services.
Q: Why doesn’t Council charge some advertised holiday houses the commercial differential rate?
A: An often raised suggestion is that Council should levy the commercial differential rate on irregular tourism accommodation operations (ie AirBnb/Stayz), however:
- Insufficient regulation exists in this area,
- Previous legal advice is that this would not stand up to legal challenge,
- Administration would represent a significant burden on Council,
- High level of ambiguity exists surrounding application methods and who it would apply to.
Q: Why doesn’t Council have a different rate for Retirement Villages?
A: Retirement Villages often lobby for concessional rates, however:
- Government rebates already exist for eligible pensioners
- Residents still utilise Council services and infrastructure
- Many residents rely heavily on Council services
- A differential rate may benefit commercial operator and not the resident in some cases
- Property values are generally lower than other similar properties because they are contained in a village environment
Q: Do pensioners get a rates discount?
A: Eligible pensioners can apply for a Pensioner Rebate of up to $241, an additional concession of $50 is available on the State Fire Services Levy (for the 2020-21 year, rebate
Information for the 2021-22 year has not been released as at the date of this publication).
Q: Why do I pay rates for services I don’t use?
A: Like all levels of government, local councils fund a wide variety of services and programs to benefit the community. Similar to way taxes paid to the Commonwealth and State governments are used for the common good, Council's rate income is collected to facilitate the provision of services and infrastructure to help the local community.
Q: What is the Municipal Charge for?
A: The Local Government Act 1989 specifies that a municipal charge may be declared 'to cover some of the administrative costs of the Council'. A municipal charge ensures a minimum amount is paid for rates
More information on rates is contained in Council's Draft Revenue and Rating Plan and Draft 2021-22 Budget Report documents, both of which are available on Council's website.