Colac Otway Shire Council has warned Elliminyt and Colac landowners could be in for a 20-per-cent rates hike when their next rates bill arrives.
The council’s draft budget flags an average rates and charges bill will increase by 5.3 per cent, but extra factors will cause a 20-per-cent increase in some people’s bills.
Council chief Rob Small said landholders at Elliminyt, whose homes were in the rural living zone, would receive the highest rate increases because their rates would rise to match Colac rates.
“It’s entirely dependent on whether their land has a higher valuation, however we have changed a couple of things,” Mr Small said.
“One of those is the properties which were previously in the rural living zone in Elliminyt have now been brought into the town zone so they will see quite a significant increase,” he said.
“That will vary on their valuations; 20 per cent is something of the order in that area.”
Mr Small said the change would affect about 360 ratepayers in Elliminyt, Colac East and Colac West.
“That’s a very substantial increase but it probably recognises that they shouldn’t have been in the farm zone and they shouldn’t have had that advantage for many years,” he said.
The draft budget shows the number of properties in the Colac residential rating category has grown from 5067 to 5475, due to new developments and the reclassification of Elliminyt homes.
The 2014-15 year is also a revaluation year, which means the council has reviewed the value of each rateable property in the shire.
Mr Small said the value of farmland had fallen but properties in “some of the small towns” had risen in value.
“A lot of the farm rates will see a significant reduction, but most of the ordinary town rates won’t shift a lot,” he said.
“I’d say the majority of people will find that either there’s been a reduction or they’re sitting somewhere around the five per cent in the rates bill.”Councillors urged the public to read the draft budget and make submissions by May 30.
“I also don’t like rates, but both sides of politics don’t want to touch rate reform,” Cr Frank Buchanan said.
“They can’t find something better – it is inequitable, it’s not fair, but it’s what we have to work with,” he said.
“Don’t just accept what’s there and go crook about it, make your points and get it into council.”
People can find copies of the report at council’s offices and public libraries in Colac and Apollo Bay, and online at www.colacotway.vic.gov.au