What are Council Rates?
Council rates are one of the main sources of funding for Local Government, they are essential in enabling Councils to deliver the hundreds of the services and facilities that our community relies on along with Federal grant funding.
Why do I pay rates to my Council?
Councils are much more than roads and rubbish collection. We are responsible for delivering hundreds of services and facilities that contribute to building strong and vibrant communities. Some of these services and facilities include but are not limited to: bike/skate parks, bushfire prevention, caravan parks, cemeteries, coastal care initiatives, community buses and centre, community wastewater management systems, development & planning services, dog management, disability services, economic development initiatives, environmental programs, events, footpath maintenance, heritage activities, libraries, museums, roads, men’s shed, football/cricket ovals, netball and tennis courts, aged care services, playgrounds, public pools, recycling and waste facilities, roads, street lighting and stormwater drains.
But I don’t use any of these services and facilities, so why do I have to pay rates?
Your rates pay for more than you realise, and you would be surprised by just how many services and facilities you benefit from every day. From rubbish collection and street lighting to tidy streets and well-kept footpaths, every day you would come into contact with services provided by Council. And while you may not use all of the services and facilities, the likelihood is that you, a member of your family, or someone you know benefit greatly from the provision of such a broad range of services and facilities. Councils are there for your community, and add amenity and value to your neighbourhood.
How can I have a say in what my rates are spent on?
Council in consultation with the community is required to develop publicly available plans, including Long-Term Financial and Asset Management Plans. Council also prepare Annual Business Plans and Budget, which includes income sources, infrastructure needs, service needs and what the Council believes the community can afford in rates. Unlike other levels of government, Council releases its Annual Business Plan and Budget for community consultation prior to being adopted.
This consultation influences the annual budget that is presented to Council for consideration and adoption. The budget can only be set at Council Meetings, which are open to the public.
Constituents are encouraged to not only participate during the Annual Business Plan and Budget consultation period, which typically occurs around April/May, but throughout the year. Consultation helps Council to understand the services their communities need.
How the Rates that you pay on your property are calculated, other separate rates and services charges that may be applicable are explained below;
All land within a Council area, except for land within a specific exemption (eg Crown Land, Council occupied land and other land prescribed in Section 147 of the Local Government Act), is rateable. The Act provides for a Council to raise revenue for the broad purposes of the Council through a general rate which applies to all rateable properties.
General Rates and Fixed Charge
Council raise rates using the Capital Value of your property (Capital amount that might reasonably be expected to be obtained upon sale of the land on an unencumbered basis) and one rate in the dollar across all the land uses. Council also impose a Fixed Charge that is levied uniformly on all non-contiguous assessments, unless the principal ratepayer has applied for and been granted the benefit of a Single Farm Enterprise. The Fixed Charge is levied against the whole of an allotment and only one fixed charge is levied against two or more pieces of adjoining land if they are owned by the same owner and occupied by the same occupier.
Natural Resources Management Levy
The Natural Resource Management Levy is a State tax. Councils are required under the Natural Resources Management Act 2004 to collect the levy on all rateable properties on behalf of the State Government. The levy helps to fund the operation of regional NRM Boards who have responsibility for the management of the State’s natural resources. These responsibilities include NRM planning, water allocation, planning, community capacity building, education and compliance activities. For further information regarding this levy, or the work the NRM levy supports, please visit the Northern & Yorke NRM Board.
Ph: 08 88413400, website www.naturalresources.sa.gov.au/northernandyorke
Council have several service charges that may be applicable to your property. A service charge can be imposed on a property, if the service is provided to that property, regardless of if the property owner is using the service. More information on this is available in the Annual Business Plan.
The service charges that are imposed by Council are;
- Community Wastewater Management Schemes (CWMS) - this charge is imposed where the CWMS has been provided to all residential, commercial and vacant properties in Wilmington, Melrose, Booleroo Centre and Wirrabara. This may change if a CWMS is established in other towns.
- Desludging of Septic Tanks connected to the CWMS - this service charge is only imposed in the years that this service is supplied. The cost for this is determined by tender amount and charged as a ‘user pays’.
- Waste Management - this charge is for the weekly kerbside waste and fortnightly recycling collection in the townships in the Council area and to the rural residential properties abutting the collection route.
- Weeroona Island Water Supply (WIWS), this service charge is based on the cost to operate the WIWS. 2019/2020 will be the first year that the service charge for the WIWS will appear on rate notices for properties (including non-rateable land) that the service has been made available to. The supply charge will still be charged by tax invoice based on water usage.
Further information relating to the rates can be found in the Annual Business Plan & Budget.
Payment of Rates
Rates are payable in four approximately equal instalments. You may elect to pay any instalment in advance. Council will send you further notices for each quarter. If the amount due remains unpaid after the due date, it may be recovered in a court of competent jurisdiction.
Fines on Rates
Rates will be overdue if they have not been paid by the “last day for payment” date shown on the front of your rate notice. After this date, additional charges will apply:-
- A fine of 2% of the amount due will be added and
- At the end of each month thereafter, interest (at the rate prescribed in the Local Government Act 1999) will be added on any balance (including interest) not then paid.
State Government Concessions
To check your eligibility for State Government concessions, go to www.sa.gov.au/concessions or contact the ConcessionsSA Hotline on 1800 307 758.
Having difficulty paying your rates?
If you have (or are likely to have) difficulty meeting these payments, please contact the Council’s Rates Administrator on (08) 8666 2014 before the rates fall into arrears to discuss options that may be able to assist you. Depending on your circumstances, there are short term (ie payment plans) and longer terms (ie postponement of rates) options that may be available to you. These enquiries are treated confidentially.
Rural Business Support
Rural Business Support assists primary producers, fishers and small rural businesses with FREE, INDEPENDANT and CONFIDENTIAL support and business analysis. They can also help with referrals, preparing succession plans and identifing government assistance eligibility.
FREE CALL 1800 836 211 or visit ruralbusinesssupport.org.au
Financial Counselling Services Hotline
The National Debt Helpline offer free independent and confidential financial counselling. It's a not-for-profit, community-based service that's available to people in Australia suffering financial difficulty.
Monday - Thursday 9:30am 8:00pm
Friday 9:30am - 4:30pm
Call 1800 007 007 or visist the website http://www.ndh.org.au/Talk-to-a-financial-counsellor/Find-a-financial-counsellor
Certain persons and/or organisations may be eligible for a rebate including certain community groups, health and education organisations. View the Rate Rebate Application form here.
Postponement of rates - seniors
Postponement of rates for ratepayers who hold a State seniors card are available in certain circumstances. See the Applicationform here.
Objection to Land Use
Differential General Rates imposed by the Council are based on various Land Use Categories. Should you have any reason to believe that the Land Use Category applied to your account is incorrect, you may lodge a written objection with Council outlining the grounds upon which your objection is based. Objections must be submitted to Council within 60 Days of receiving this notice. Please be mindful that rates are still due and payable by the due date even if an objection has been lodged.
Objection to Valuation
You may object to the valuation referred to in your rate notice by writing served personally or by post on the Valuer-General within 60 days after the date of service of this notice.
(a) if you have previously received a notice or notices under the Local Government Act 1999 referring to the valuation and informing you of a 60-day objection period, the objection period is 60 days after service of the first such notice;
(b) you may not object to the valuation if the Valuer-General has already considered an objection by you to that valuation.
The Valuer-General may extend the 60 day objection period where it be shown there is reasonable cause to do so by a person entitled to make an objection to a valuation.
A written objection to valuation must set out the full and detailed grounds for objection. Objections can also be submitted via an online form at http://www.sa.gov.au/landservices and enter “Objecting to a Valuation” in the search field. Rates are still due and payable by the due date even if an objection to valuation has been lodged.
Objections are to be forwarded to:
Office of the Valuer General, 101 Grenfell Street, Adelaide 5000, GPO Box 1354, Adelaide 5001 or Phone: 1300 653 346, Email: LsgObjections@sa.gov.au, Fax: 08 8226 1428
Persons on the State House of Assembly Electoral Roll are automatically included in the Council Voters Roll and entitled to vote in Council elections. Others who are ratepayers may also be entitled to be enrolled on the Council Voters Roll and will need to apply for enrolment.
Do you still have questions?
For further enquiries please contact the Council office, 3 Stuart Street, Melrose,
ph: (08) 8666 2014, Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Have you moved?
It is your responsibility to advise Council if your personal details have changed. This can be done in writing, via email, online or via the tear off slip on your rate notice. Please note that the address for the service of this rates notice may be different to the address(es) used for other Council business, eg building application and other Council services, so you must specifically request an alteration to the mailing address for the rates notice for each property you own when your personal details change.