Throughout the past financial year, a strong focus for Council has been on Strategic Planning, which culminated in the adoption of the 2018 – 2021 Strategic Plan and the completion of a number of Community Township Plans.
The 2018/19 Annual Business Plan reinforces this Strategic Planning focus and the plan has been developed with consideration to the communities’ priorities highlighted through the various planning forums.
As with every year there are a number of challenges encountered with development of the Annual Business Plan. Council on an annual basis encounters competing demands for community priorities and projects, annual cost increases and ongoing asset renewals and replacement. The challenge for Council is to deliver a budget that meets the needs of the community whilst restricting rating increases.
On that basis, Council has limited the increase in total General Rate Revenue to 2.0% for the 2018/19 financial year. The 2.0% increase is represented in real terms as a 1.2% increase in general rates plus 0.8% increase from growth from new assessments and developments.
In summary the 2018/19 financial year results will continue to build on past successes including the delivery of the following;
A key component of the 2018/19 Annual Business Plan is the $7.87 Million Capital Expenditure budget. Council continues to focus on increasing asset renewals. In 2018/19 $4.59 Million has been allocated for the renewal of a wide range of existing facilities and infrastructure. Council has also committed $3.28 Million for the upgrade and acquisition of new assets.
In addition to the capital works budget, Council is set to deliver several operating projects throughout the year including; the Local Government elections and training of the new Councillors.
Copies of the 2018/19 Annual Business Plan and Financial Budget Statements are available from the Council's Millicent, Beachport and Penola Offices during normal business hours, or can be downloaded by clicking on the link below.
Rates are set at the commencement of each financial year. Council also collects a levy on behalf of the South East Natural Resources Management Board (NRM Levy). Rates for the current financial year of 2018/2019 are:
Rate in the Dollar
Basis of Rating is Capital Value
|Purpose of Use Category||2018/19|
|Residential, Vacant & Other||$75.61|
Refer to the Annual Business Plan for full details.
Due Dates for Payment
Rates may be paid in full or in quarterly instalments. The due dates for rate payments for the current financial year are:
A separate notice will be sent thirty days before each instalment is due. Payments may be made more frequently if desired, but please ensure that each quarterly instalment amount is met by the due date indicated on the rate notice.
Fines will be levied on overdue rates. Please see the Annual Business Plan for full details.
Any ratepayer who may, or is likely to, experience difficulty with meeting the standard payments are invited to contact the Rates Department on (08) 8733 0900 to discuss payment options. All enquiries are treated confidentially by the Council.
Rate Concessions - From 1 July 2015, the State Government has elected to pay directly to those eligible ratepayers a single "cost of living payment". This payment may be used by ratepayers to offset Council rates. To check elibibility, contact the Department for Communities and Social Inclusion (DCSI) Concessions Hotline 1800 307 758. Furthermore effective from 1 July 2017 concession applicable to ratepayers who receive Community Wastewater Management Schemes, will also receive these payments directly from the State Government and will no longer appear on the rates notices.
Valuation - The capital value used by Council for your property is provided by Valuation SA. Any enquiries regarding this value should be directed to the State Valuation Office on 1300 653 345.
Single Farming Enterprise - All rural ratepayers who own and operate two or more portions of rateable land as one entity can apply to Council to be treated as a Single Farm Enterprise. Application form is available to download here.
Land Use Objection - If you wish to have your land use code reviewed an application can be made to Council for formal consideration by the State Valuation Office. Application form is available to download here.
Change of Address - If changing address or property ownership, please advise any changes as quickly as possible by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with all the details including your daytime telephone number.
Phone (08) 8733 0900 for any other general rates queries, or email email@example.com.
At its October 2017 meeting Council adopted the Long Term Financial Plan 2018-2027.
The Long Term Financial Plan is driven by Council's Strategic Management Plan, which sets out Council's future objectives, goals and desired outcomes for the Community.
The purpose of the Long Term Financial Plan is to provide guidance to Council in formulating those future strategies and actions, by ensuring that Council are fully aware of the future financial impact of decisions made today.
The LTFP is designed as a 'high-level' summarised document, providing relevant information in relation to key performance components such as rate increases, service levels to our community, major infrastructure replacement & renewal, loan indebtedness and internal cash reserves.
The Plan ensures that Council has the information available to pursue the implementation of the Strategic Management Plan whilst maintaining the focus on continuing to operate in a financially sustainable manner.
At a meeting of Council held on 14th April, 2009 a report regarding movements in property valuations and general rating options for 2009/10 was considered by Council.
The Report was prepared as a part of Council's annual budget process and in pursuit of Council's commitment to review its rating strategy, with particular emphasis on the impact of "Rate Capping", which was introduced by Wattle Range Council in 2004/05.
The rate cap was introduced to ease the burden on ratepayers who would otherwise have experienced a very significant rate rise due to a sudden "spike" in the Capital Valuation of their property, relative to other properties. Community feedback received in response to Council's Draft Business Plan & Budget in 2008/2009 indicated concerns regarding the equity of Rate Capping in recent years, and a desire for Council to analyse the implications of continuing to use of Rate Capping into the future.
It is clear that the use of General Rate Capping has served residents and Council well in ensuring that residents are not subject to large increases in rates as a consequence of "spikes" in property valuations. It is also clear that the Rate Cap has created confusion for some ratepayers who may attempt to compare Wattle Range Council's declared (official) differential "Rate in the Dollar" with that used by other Councils.
The Rate Cap has the effect of reducing the effective "Rate in the Dollar" on an individual property to which the Rate Cap has been applied, to a value which is lower than the declared (official) "Rate in the Dollar". The effective "Rate in the Dollar" is determined simply by dividing the General Rates Payable (after the Rate Cap rebate) by the Capital Value of the property. For example, a Township property (receiving a Rate Cap), with General Rates Payable of $1,359.05 and a Capital Value of $330,000 in 2008/2009, has an effective "Rate in the Dollar" of 0.4118 cents in the dollar, which is significantly lower than the declared (official) Township "Rate in the Dollar" of 0.5680 cents in the dollar.
In a similar way, misunderstanding of the effect of Rate Capping resulted in reporting of rate increases of 6% for 2008/2009, when the Rate Cap had the effect of limiting any increase to individual ratepayers to the 4% Rate Cap as applied in 2008/2009 (for properties which met the Rate Cap eligibility criteria). The additional 2% of General Rate Revenue was obtained from properties which did not meet the Rate Cap eligibility criteria, principally due to new development of changes in property ownership.
In considering potential options for future General Rating Strategies, including Rate Capping, Council needs to be mindful not only of the overall distribution of the rate burden across the Community, but also the effect of the change in General Rates payable by individual property owners from one year to the next, arising from any change in Rating Strategy.
Following consideration of the Report, Council resolved to make the Report available to the public to ensure ratepayers have an opportunity to consider the matters and data detailed within the Report. Council invites interested members of the community to consider the Report and to provide feedback on the matters raised in the Report.
The Property Valuations & General Rating Options 2009/2010 report provides a summary of the Legislative framework for Council's General Rates, details of Council's Rating Strategy over the last few years, and a discussion of potential future General Rating strategies.
No consideration has been given to changing the Basis of Rating (Capital vs Site Value, fixed charge vs minimum rate, or differential rating), as Community feedback to date has not identified specific concerns with Council's current Basis of Rating. Any change to the Basis of Rating would require significant public consultation as required under the Local Government Act 1999, and the legislative timelines for setting the 2009/2010 budget would not provide sufficient time to conduct the required consultation this year.
Four (4) future strategy options are presented, with accompanying financial model data and topographical maps showing the varying impact of the option on properties across the Council area. The options serve to demonstrate the impact of various levels of General Rate Capping that may be considered by Council for implementation in 2009/2010 and beyond, including the complete removal of Rate Capping and the retention of Rate Capping to varying degrees. Information regarding the current use of General Rate Capping by other Councils, both metropolitan and regional, is also provided for additional reference.
The financial model data presented indicates that there are ramifications with each option that need careful consideration, particularly if there is a desire to remove or quickly "wash out" the influence of the Rate Cap that has been in place since 2004/05. Those most significant impact is on property owners who have been receiving relief from large rate increases by the application of the Rate Cap, who may now experience a significant increase in General Rates payable (up to 100% or more) following the removal of the existing Rate Cap.
The report does not provide any specific recommendations as it is provided for the information of Councillors and the Community as a working document and not as a conclusive report.
The Property Valuations & General Rating Options 2009/2010 report can be downloaded from the following link.
The following page provides data showing movements in the Capital Valuation (as determined by the SA Valuer General) from 2008/2009 to 2009/2010, for properties across the Wattle Range Council area.
The following pages provide financial modelling results for each of the Rate Capping Options examined in the Property Valuations & General Rating Options 2009/2010 report, demonstrating the impact of each Option on the General Rates Payable for properties across the Wattle Range Council area.