Shire rates set to rise 3.05 per cent
By Michael Sinclair-Jones
MOST Shire of Toodyay property owners can expect to pay an average of 3.05 per cent more in proposed new rate increases.
The increase would cause median rates to rise by between $52 and $246 across eight categories of local land use.
Last year’s median rate increases were between $82 and $391.
This year’s minimum rates are planned to remain at $1351 – the same as last year.
A 3.05 per cent increase on a typical $2000 rates bill is about $60 a year.Read more
Dollar amounts will be much higher for broadacre farmers and livestock producers on 208 properties bigger than 100ha who pay tens of thousands of dollars in shire rates every year.
Pensioners can claim rebates of up to half of the cost of their rates bills, capped at $750 last financial year.
Holders of WA Senior’s cards can claim rebates up to 25 per cent, capped last year at $100.
The proposed rate increases are calculated to raise $7.2 million this financial year – $335,000 more than last year.
There was no rate rise in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
State reviews of land valuations may alter the value of individual properties on which shire rate increases are applied each year.
A special Toodyay Shire Council meeting on June 8 voted 7-0 (Cr Mick McKeown absent) to advertise the proposed new rates for 21 days for public comment.
Shire CEO Suzie Haslehurst said this was done on Facebook, online and on the shire website, and submissions had now closed.
The council decision came too late to advertise in last month’s Toodyay Herald, Ms Haslehurst said.
This year’s proposed rates include a new mining category which aims to raise an extra $200,000 from 35 Toodyay properties.
Rates on rural land used for mining and exploration are proposed to increase from about 0.014c to nearly one cent in the dollar – by far the highest for any local land use.
The shire said previously that it needed to charge higher rates for mining to repair and upgrade local roads damaged by frequent heavy industry vehicle use, such as at Chalice Mining’s Julimar worksite.
It is understood that at least one mining company operating in Toodyay was reportedly “not happy” with the proposed increase.
The shire said WA local government law required ministerial approval for the size of the proposed new mining rate, which will be sought prior to the council finalising its 2022-23 budget in coming weeks.
The proposed overall increase in rates revenue – taking into account unchanged minimum rates – is 2.5 per cent.
This matches the council’s 10-year Long Term Financial Plan adopted in June 2020 which requires annual increases of 2.5 per cent for the next eight years.
Shire Projects Officer Maurice Werder told last month’s special council meeting that leaving Toodyay’s minimum rate unchanged at $1351 left it still higher than the amount charged in most other shires.