Winners and losers on Derwent Valley rates roundabout

Mike Kerr
By Mike Kerr
Derwent Valley Gazette
07 Jul 2024
Derwent Valley Council Chambers

SOME Derwent Valley residents will pay up to 30 per cent more in rates this year, while some will enjoy a decrease.

This follows Council’s adoption of its budget for the 2024/25 financial year last Thursday night.

The rise in rates reflects an increase in property values as determined by the state’s Valuer General. Council says about half residential properties will see a rate increase and the other half a decrease.

“After carefully considering the Council's expenses and financial sustainability, it was decided to increase the general rate by 5% and keep the waste management charge at $65 per property,” the council said in  a statement after the meeting.

Figures provided to the meeting by Cr Shoobridge show a more detailed picture.

Derwent Valey Mayor Michelle Dracoulis
Derwent Valley Mayor Michelle Dracoulis

While 38% of ratepayers will see a rate rise of 5% or more, for 22.98% of ratepayers it will be 12% or more, and 17.95% of properties a 15% rates increase or more, he told the meeting.

Some 172 residential properties would have a 30% increase, he said.

A motion to defer the rate rise pending consideration of other options, including a so-called ‘flat rating’ model, failed. Council staff said a number of ways of calculating rates had been considered, but no better options emerged.

An outstanding matter concerned ‘tip tickets’ – waste vouchers in council jargon – which won't be issued with rates notices as the value attributed to them has not been set for 2024/25.

Once the Council has resolved its Fees and Charges, the vouchers will be mailed to ratepayers.

Further figures provided at the meeting show only 30% of residents use their vouchers.

Council is now urging ratepayers who don’t use their vouchers to pass them on to members or agencies in the community to assist them in disposing of their waste.

In the detail of council’s decision, the rates rise will raise $8.8 million of the Council’s total revenue of $19.2 million, with $20.5 million in the total operational expenditure for 2024/25.

The budget thus maintains an overall structural deficit of $1.3million.

Council's capital program for 2024/25 is $9.392 million, which is largely grant-funded through contributions. It comprises roads and bridges $2.45 million, a drainage program $970,770, buildings andrecreation $5.119 million, plant and equipment $563,000, waste management $225,000, information technology $50,000, and office furniture $14,000.

When working through the budget process, consideration was given to the Statewide Waste Levy increasing to $52.15 per property. This and the Fire Levy are collected for the State Government.

Derwent Valley Mayor Michelle Dracoulis says this budget shows Council’s commitment to the community while addressing the cost-of-living pressures its ratepayers face.

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I’m not sure I understand how this helps the community while addressing cost of living pressures. It’s adding to them.