Mayor calls for calm on rate capping

Published on 01 July 2016

Loddon Shire Council Mayor Neil Beattie has refuted a VFF claim that Victorian councils are imposing rate hikes of up to 17 per cent on farmers for 2016-17.

Cr Beattie decided to speak out about the issue after several Loddon Shire farmers raised concerns with him since reading written material released by the VFF which suggests they are among those to face rates notices which effectively breach the 2.5 per cent cap.

“The statement released by the VFF suggests farmers within Loddon Shire will receive an average rate increase of 7.62 per cent.

“However, the Shire’s rate income from rural properties for 2016-17 is estimated to increase by $75,507, being only a 1.44 per cent increase in rural rates.

“The suggestion of the VFF is totally inaccurate and it doesn’t take into consideration a number of variables which will affect individual farming properties.

“The rate cap is applied to total overall rate revenue collected by Council.

“Other factors such as the fire service property levy, which is determined by the state government, are excluded from the cap.

“At the end of the day, individual property owners may experience differing results according to a number of variables, including their latest property revaluation which takes effect from the 2016-17 rating year.

“With Loddon Shire’s long term rating strategy planning for a 5.5 per cent increase per year, the introduction of the 2.5 per cent rate capping system effectively passes on an overall 3 per cent ratepayer saving to the collective ratepayer group.

“Our Council also chose to limit increases on discretionary waste and recycling services to the rate cap.

“On behalf of Council I would like to assure our farming community that we took every possible measure to ensure our calculations were correct and even took the extra step of seeking advice from the Essential Services Commission before finalising the budget.

“However, I would encourage farmers with any specific queries or concerns to contact Council for further clarification.”