EXPLAINED: Who will get $100 off rates this year
PEOPLE who live in their own homes have emerged as the big winners in this year’s council budget, while investors miss out on rates relief.
A $100 rates rebate, available to all owner/occupiers on the Fraser Coast, was one of the centrepieces of the 2020/21 council budget, Mayor George Seymour said.
The rebate comes in addition to the $175 concession already available to pensioners.
Overall, the council will collect $2.6 million more in general rates this year than in 2019/20, representing a 3.5 per cent increase.
The Chronicle understands the increased general rates revenue is due to the council collecting rates from more properties, as well as higher State Government land valuations.
This increase will be offset by the rates rebate package, which accounts for $3 million of the council’s $359 million budget spend.
Cr Seymour said the rebate, included in the budget as a coronavirus relief measure, meant three quarters of Fraser Coast residents would pay the same as, or less than their rates last year.
“Almost 30,000 people who live in their own homes will receive $100 off their July rates notice,” Cr Seymour said.
Increased State Government land valuations will mean some residents will experience a rise in their rates, he said.
“We’re doing what we can to reduce the individual impacts of higher State Government land valuations through our $100 COVID-19 rates rebate, freezing the minimum rate and the rate in the dollar, and maintaining our rates capping policy,” Cr Seymour said.
Deputy Mayor Darren Everard said while the rates rebate was welcome relief for those who lived in their own homes, it would be disappointing for other property owners.
He said the council’s forecast $7 million deficit meant the rebate had to capped.
“That is a hard one and there was a fair bit of conversation around that in the budget process,” Cr Everard said.
“The package we’ve done is for the owner/occupiers.
“We would love to help everyone but we’ve got a deficit.
“We can’t just go open slather. The more we give away, the more services we have to cut.”
Cr Seymour said the budget also included a 3 per cent increase in water and wastewater charges to help pay for treatment plant upgrades.
“With the Fraser Coast’s current population of 110,000 people expected to grow to almost 150,000 by 2036, it’s important the council continues to invest in new and improved water and sewerage treatment plants,” he said.
For the average property with average water use, the increased charges this year will mean about an extra 93 cents a week.”