A set of compounding factors has caused Circular Heads rates to jump up this year, much to the disgust of locals in Stanley.
Rate notices were sent out recently and for some in Stanley it’s meant an increase of $300 to $450 above last year’s figure. “If they’re going to increase rates why not make it even? Why have my rates gone up $450 and the bloke who lives over the back fence, his have only gone up $192?” Marine Esplanade resident, Darren Hampson said.
When Mr Hampson’s rate notice came through two weeks ago, he was shocked to see the total this year at $1567, compared to last year’s cost of $1120.
“We don’t mind rates going up, we expect that, but not by $450 in one hit and not if everyone’s isn’t even.”
Circular Head Council director of corporate services, Rachel Radford, said there were three compounding factors affecting Stanley residents’ rates which included recent property revaluations completed by the valuer general’s department. Additional work to occur over the next 12 months in Stanley has also been included which is based on cost recovery, and thirdly, the Stanley stormwater charge.
Council introduced a stormwater rate in 2015/16 to cover the cost of maintaining and replacing stormwater assets. The cost was to be spread over three financial years – one-third each year – but after the first two increases, the next two financial years only had a consumer price index (CPI) increase, however the current 2019/20 rate notice includes the final third.
Mrs Radford said the figures were calculated on the assessed annual value (AAV) of each property, which for Mr Hampson is of little comfort as his property on Marine Esplanade “has no footpath, no kerb, and when it rains the stormwater floods down our driveway”.
Living on Main Road, pensioner Steven Butler says his stormwater charge last year was $81, which has jumped to $210 this year. His property’s capital valuation has risen by $80,000 from last year and he points out the rebate incentive for paying early used to be four per cent but now is three per cent. As well, his pensioner discount has lifted just $16.42 despite his rates lifting $299. “I’m being ripped off everywhere,” he said. “They are a law unto themselves.”
But Ms Radford defended the rate increase to cover the maintenance planned for Stanley.
“Council is not into raising money for the sake of it, the fees are linked to services provided,” Mrs Radford said. “Council cost-recovers the garbage service, recycling and the transfer station, we don’t make additional income, only cost-recover. “We don’t want to over-rate in any district but it may be that costs aren’t as high as anticipated at the end of the year.
“It would only be fair to take that off the Stanley stormwater rates the next year.” Mrs Radford said if ratepayers wanted to object they could put in a customer service request at council or complete the feedback form on council’s website.
If people are unhappy with their valuation they can object to the valuer general’s department.