Council releases rating strategy green paper
November 9, 2017
Colac Otway Shire Council is expanding the community’s opportunity to have a say on the municipality’s rating strategy with the introduction of a new green paper process.
As the first stage of Council’s public consultation, a green paper will outline the broad concepts of a proposed rating structure for the community to consider and comment on.
Mayor Joe McCracken said the green paper was a new initiative and he encouraged the community to get involved.
“Rates are not a fee for service, they are a land tax. We know that’s not a perfect system, but it’s the system local government has been given through legislation,” Cr McCracken said.
“The rating system also includes a municipal charge which is applied at a fixed level across properties.
“In Colac Otway we have a differential rating system, and within that we have six rating categories applied to different land types.
“The objective of a rating strategy is to determine a way to fairly and equitably spread the rate burden across those categories.”
The six rating categories in the Colac Otway Shire are residential Colac; residential balance of shire; commercial Colac; commercial balance of shire; holiday rental and rural farm.
Each category pays a different rate in the dollar according to Council’s determination of that sector’s capacity to pay.
For example, rural farm property owners currently pay 77 per cent of what residential Colac property owners pay based on capital improved cents in the dollar.
Cr McCracken said rating was a complex system, and that any change to one rating category meant that other categories had to pay more.
“The Council requires a certain amount of fund its services to the community each year. The differential rates are the way that amount is distributed.
“We invite our community to have a look at the green paper and make comments on the work we’ve done so far, which includes consultation with some of the shire’s representative groups such as chambers of commerce and resident and ratepayer associations,” he said.
“The feedback we get on the green paper will inform the drafting of the rating strategy, which will go to Council in early next year in the form of a white paper.
“Following that, the draft rating strategy will go out for further consultation in April before being adopted in June.”
Copies of the rating strategy green paper can be downloaded from www.colacotway.vic.gov.au or can be viewed in hard copy at Council’s customer service centres in Colac and Apollo Bay.
Comments on the rating strategy green paper close 1 December 2017.