Vacant land rates a shock to owners

Francesca MannGeraldton Guardian
Charles Hannington and Taylar Woodcock were confused when they saw their rates were over $1000 for their vacant block of land in Deepdale.
Camera IconCharles Hannington and Taylar Woodcock were confused when they saw their rates were over $1000 for their vacant block of land in Deepdale. Credit: Francesca Mann/Picture: Francesca Mann, Francesca Mann The Geraldton Guardian

When Taylar Woodcock and her partner, Charles Hannington, received their rates for their vacant block of land in Deepdale, they were startled by how much they owed.

The couple were charged the minimum amount payable of $1010, despite having nothing on their 1 hectare block. Ms Woodcock, who works as a cleaner, said the couple had no idea what they were paying for.

“We have only had the block for two years and (our rates) have always been over $1000,” she said.

“We are pretty annoyed that it’s so much when there is absolutely nothing on it.

“It is very disappointing. It can’t even be rented out to make a little income. I would hate to know how much our rates would go up once we do build on it.”

Their rates notice also included a small charge for the Emergency Services Levy, which Ms Woodcock said they did not mind paying. City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn said rates applied to all residential properties, whether they were occupied or not.

“Local government rates are an equitable contribution each property owner makes towards the cost of providing facilities in their local community,” he said. “Residential land for which no rental value can be determined is valued on the basis of 3 per cent of its total capital value, which are based on property sales in the area at the time of revaluation.

“The majority of owners of vacant residential land would pay the minimum value of $1010, well below what the average occupied property would pay.”

Some councils around the State have set a higher rate in the dollar for ratepayers with vacant land.

In Armadale, the residential rate in the dollar is 8.485¢, but for vacant land the City has set it to 14.425¢.

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