Comparing last year’s rates notice with this year might save you some money.
This is what Orange Grove resident Dominic Wild found out when he suggested the City of Gosnells should link rate increases to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Mr Wild wrote to the City of Gosnells Mayor, David Goode, and received a response in writing.
“The city is very conscious of the need to contain rate increases and is framing its 2020/21 budget around ensuring that no individual ratepayer pays more in rates next financial year than they have in the current year,” Mr Goode said in the letter.
“As you would be aware, rates are calculated by multiplying a property’s gross rental value by the rate in the dollar set by council.
“Landgate has recently issued its triennial property revaluations to local governments and in the City of Gosnells, this has resulted in an average decrease in Gross Rental Values (GRV) of just over 14 per cent.
“The decline in GRVs varies across suburbs and in the City of Gosnells ranges from an average of just under nine per cent in Orange Grove to nearly 19 per cent in Langford.”
Mr Goode also pointed out that as local governments can only set a single rate in the dollar that applies to all GRV-rated properties, setting a rate in the dollar that ensures no individual rate payer pays more in rates in 2020/21 than they did in 2019/20 was a challenging task.
“It is almost inevitable that when rate notices are generated, some ratepayers will receive a bill that is greater than they paid in 2019/20,” he said.
“Where that is the case, the city will reimburse those ratepayers the difference between their 2019/20 and 2020/21 rate notices.
“However, it should be noted that where the increase in rates is due to improvements to properties that have increased their GRVs, no reimbursement would be made.
“The city’s approach to rates in 2020/21 will result in a significant decrease in revenue for the city but is considered necessary to support ratepayers, many of whom have been significantly affected by restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Mr Wild said he would certainly be comparing his rates bill and claim the difference.
“What this means is that Landgate comes up with a GRV, which council then promptly ignores,” Mr Wild said in his letter.
“This also means we are indirectly paying for unnecessary duplication via two sets of public servants.
“As our rates are linked to GRV and GRV had dropped by nine per cent in Orange Grove, as the mayor pointed out, our rates should also have dropped by that much, so council is definitely still charging too much by generously saying they will keep it to last year’s level.
“As neither the Valuer General, now Landgate, nor council seem to get a fair rating policy right, linking rate increases to CPI is the only solution, especially for residents on fixed CPI-linked incomes.”