BAYSWATER council will explore a differential rating strategy for the 2018-19 financial year, in a bid to reduce the burden on residential ratepayers and increase rates for owners of vacant lots.
At last night’s committee meeting, council supported councillor Elli Petersen-Pik’s alternate motion to explore this strategy and consider application of a Specified Area Rate (SAR) for designated properties.
City officers will provide a report on an engagement plan for consultation on proposed changes to the rating strategy and revised project plan for the 2018-19 budget process.
A differential strategy is based on a property’s characteristics.
The City has 31,332 rateable properties, including 910 vacant and 635 commercial properties.
In 2017-18, a uniform rate of 6 cents was applied to all rateable land in the City.
Cr Petersen-Pik said a differential rating strategy could achieve other objectives by setting higher rates on specific classes of land including noxious industry and “eyesore commercial vacant lots”.
“The City of Vincent is charging different rates for residential, commercial, industrial and vacant commercial sites,” he said.
“Vacant commercial sites in the City of Fremantle are also paying almost double the rate-in-the-dollar applied to residential properties.
“One high profile example, which many of you are aware of, is the vacant site owned by Coles on Guildford Road, in the middle of the Maylands town centre.
“Another is the vacant site in Bayswater on the corner of King William Street and Guildford Road.”
Mayor Dan Bull said he recently met with the owners of the site on the corner of King William Street and Guildford Road, who advised that they were taking steps to develop the vacant site.
Cr Brent Fleeton said he did not want to increase the bill on commercial landowners.