Council backs new rate system

GLAMORGAN-Spring Bay Mayor Robert Young has defended the municipality’s new rating system arguing it provides equity and fairness.

Mr Young said he voted in favour of the change because he believed a person with substantial assets should not be subsidised by those ratepayers with more modest properties.

“Not many people have complained to me about the new system,’’ Mr Young said.

In June the council voted in favour of adopting an Assessed Annual Value rates model, which will see some ratepayers pay substantially more in annual rates while others pay less, depending on the value of the property.

The change has been met with opposition, with some locals calling for a rates strike and others wanting the council placed into administration.

However, council general manager Greg Ingham said the issue had been “stirred up’’ by a small group with a vendetta against the council.

Mr Ingham said the call for a rates strike appeared not to be working, with revenue from rates at expected levels and only one request for a hardship application. He said calls for the council to be put into administration were upsetting staff.

“This is overshadowing the real good work the council is doing,’’ Mr Ingham said. “We have turned a corner and we are doing very well.’’

Mr Ingham said the new rates system put GSBC on par or below the rate of neighbouring councils Break O’Day and Sorell. Mr Young said no one liked paying rates.

“Many people have fixed incomes and it hurts,’’ Mr Young said.
“The Government wanted the council’s performance improved and put on a sustainable footing.
“We would not have survived without an increase in rates and significant improvements were expected of us.
“If we hadn’t put rates up, council cheques would have bounced this year,’’ he said.

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