City flags rates differential

Francesca MannGeraldton Guardian

The City of Greater Geraldton is to give local public notice of its intention to impose differential rates and minimum payments for the 2018-19 financial year.

During the ordinary council meeting on Tuesday April 24, councillors unanimously agreed to endorse the proposed differential rates and minimum payments suggested in the executive recommendation.

The Long Term Financial Plan suggests increasing rates by 3.5 per cent and minimum payments from $1010 to $1030.

Cr Steve Douglas moved an amendment to keep the proposed minimum payments to $1010, which was supported by the council.

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Mayor Shane Van Styn stressed councillors’ endorsement of the proposed amounts did not necessarily mean they supported a rates increase.

“We’re not making a decision on the rates,” he said.

“This sends a signal to staff that we need to ensure a focus is kept on the expenses of running council.

“We seriously need to have a good hard look at whether we’ve completed our round of expenditure reduction in the city or whether or not there is room for further savings.”

The proposed increase would see the rate in the dollar for residential properties increase from 11.9016¢ to 12.3181¢.

For non-residential properties, the rate in the dollar would increase from 11.3804¢ to 11.7787¢.

The rate in the dollar for unimproved value properties used primarily for rural, farming and mining purposes would increase from 0.7489¢ to 0.7751¢.

Once the council has given public notice of the intention to impose differential rates and minimum payments, electors and ratepayers will have 21 days to make submissions.

The council is required to consider any submissions received before imposing the proposed rates and minimum payments.

Cr David Caudwell encouraged community members to make a submission.

“It’s important to get public feedback,” he said. “I’d hate for the community to ignore this.”

According to briefing notes, the council may impose rates or minimum payments different from those published in the public notice, but is obliged to publish the reasons for doing so as part of its formally adopted budget.

The council will also consider the impact of new GRV valuation, which will take effect from July 1.

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