I wish to comment on the annual rate rises proposed by the South Gippsland Shire Council without any thought to the residents who have to pay them.
Council, through all local newspapers, have been advising residents of a 4.9 per cent increase this year, however the real cost to many households will be far greater.
I urge residents to look at their own property value and do the sums for themselves, as this 4.9 per cent increase is misleading.
In the past five years council rates for many home owners in this shire have doubled, and even though the current State Government is moving to cap rate rises to inflation from next year, nothing will return to residents the millions of dollars in rates that have already been collected from a shire that struggles to maintain the services the former four municipalities were able to provide so well, at reasonable cost for over 100 years.
Firstly the 4.9 per cent is presumably some average figure council calculates, however under this budget most income producing farms will pay less in rates than last year, and all home owners will pay massive increases once again.
I understand the effect on rates of scrapping the municipal charge, but my concern is for the majority of normal home owners, who I believe are not being provided clear enough information of what this budget will mean for them.
My calculation is that you would need to live in a residence with a capital improved value of $175,000 to qualify for the increase of 4.9 per cent that council is telling you.
In reality, rates and charges on a residence worth $200,000 will increase by 6.3 per cent.
A residence valued at $300,000 will pay an extra 9.8 per cent.
A residence valued at $400,000 will pay an extra 11.9 per cent, and if your home is valued at $500,000 then you will pay an extra 13.3 per cent and so on.
An average residence worth $350,000 would pay an extra 10.9 per cent to council this year.
So please do your own sums and form your own conclusion.
Is a rate rise of 4.9 per cent misleading? You be the judge.
As for councils Active Aging Plan, this will be another waste of money if retirees are rated out of this municipality.
Young families already finding it hard to get into the property market, will also be faced with rate bills far more than they can afford, so this will hinder future growth.
We can do nothing and again pay whopping increases to a council that needs half our rates for its administration costs rather than maintaining pools and basic infrastructure they were handed debt free when the four former shires became one.
Or, we can say enough is enough and do whatever it takes to change this high rating, big administration culture.
Sadly two out of our nine councillors are referred to as trouble makers for fighting to keep your rates down.
They will never succeed unless ratepayers across the municipality support them by making written submissions opposing this current budget, and putting pressure on all other councillors to manage our rates better and seek other ways to raise income.
Tony Eden, Mirboo North