Statement from the Mayor
Council has been paying close attention and listening to our community members’ feedback about their rates notice and we have great empathy for those who are struggling. We Councillors are also ratepayers and active members of the community, we identify closely with the issues we are hearing about.
Council’s approach to setting property rates is part of the adopted budget each year; for the 2018-19 year it can be found on pages 70-73. This Budget went through the standard formal adoption process including the community submission process (which is a formal statutory process under section 223 of the Local Government Act) therefore rates for the 2018-19 year are fixed. While the 18/19 budget cannot be changed, residents are able to make an objection to their valuation by filling out an objection form (which can be found under ‘forms’ on our About your rates and valuations page).
I can share with you that Council commits to a full and fresh approach to rating distribution as a part of next year’s 2019-20 Budget process and we genuinely encourage residents to get in touch with us to provide their suggestions ahead of the Budget’s development. While we always have a service review focus, it is getting harder and harder to meet the balance between rates the amount required to meet the community’s expectations on the services Council should deliver within the Budget.
Golden Plains Shire Council fully supports the Municipal Association of Victoria’s efforts in advocating for fairness for local government in the rating system, as our community feedback clearly indicates a desire for real and meaningful change.
Council will also increase its already significant efforts in lobbying, advocating and pushing hard for greatly increased State and Federal funding. Golden Plains sometimes fall through the gap as a rural/residential council with a low revenue base from rates. Our challenge is our fast growing population; our low rate base (low number of rateable properties) is placing significant pressure on Council, and in turn on our residents, as we strive to provide everyone with the necessary services and infrastructure.
Again, I encourage any residents who may be facing difficulty paying their rates, or wish to object to their re-valuation, to contact Customer Service on 5220 7111.
Cr Helena Kirby, Mayor of Golden Plains Shire Council