Rates Forum Summary
Rates Forum Summaryposted 12-Apr-2019
Rates Forum Summary – Katherine Town Council
Monday 8th April 2019 saw 75 Community members participate in the public Community Rates Forum held at Godinmayin Yijards Rivers Arts & Culture Centre. The community were provided information about recent Long Term Financial Planning work conducted by the Council, how rates are determined, the role the Unimproved Capital Values (UCV’s) play in helping levy rates and how rates income is spent.
In 2015, with the benefit of best practice Asset Management principals, Elected Members made the difficult but responsible decision to plan for our community’s future. Elected members regularly undertake long-term future planning, so that the actions we take now will positively affect Katherine in 10/20 years. Katherine Town Council have been regularly praised on our long-term planning and are in front of other councils in the Territory.
During the presentation Community Members were provided with extensive detail on Council’s expenditure, particularly the yearly minimum spend required to maintain $100M worth of existing Council infrastructure whilst still providing the core services expected by the community. This is also impacted significantly by the impending closure of the Waste Management Facility (predicted 2026) which will have a financial impact of approx. $40M. When looking into future planning and rates, Elected Members realised if rates weren’t raised there would be a huge increase in 2026 and the best option was to raise rates slowly over a period of time so then rates can get back to a steady amount.
With a predetermined revenue requirement, Council chooses to use the Differential Rating System to fairly distribute the rates amongst property owners. UCV’s are used through this process however, it was stressed by Elected Members that unless reductions in services are made the overall revenue required from rates will not decrease with a decrease in UCV’s. The reason for this being that every year Council need to spend money on assets, provide services, etc. and the cost of doing this won’t decrease.
It was noted that events such as the 1998 and 2006 floods created a large financial impact on the community that affected the Council’s ability to correctly maintain assets and impact on waste facility.
Elected members and Katherine Town Council wanted to give the community an opportunity to ask questions and raise concerns they may have had. It is apparent that a large quantity of concerns lie with the valuations provided by the Valuer General. Katherine Town Council will continue advocating the Valuer Generals attendance at a future forum so that residents queries can be addressed.
With the valuation process currently being undertaken we would like to remind property owners that from the notification date of your valuation you have 28 days to contest this directly with the Valuer Generals department.
Residents also identified issues regarding verges and we have taken this on board and will work towards fixing this issue. Dogs were a subject matter, Katherine Town Council operate on a complaints system, so please contact the council when there is a dog issue.
Overall the forum was a success, both elected members and Katherine Town Council understand the passion our community has. It was great to hear that after the presentation that members of the public stated that they were no longer coming in with guns blazing. When a date for the valuer general’s visit to Katherine is known, Katherine community will be aware.