THE community can soon have its say on the City of Joondalup’s proposed rates increase of 2.95 per cent.
The council voted 10-2 at a special meeting on Tuesday night to apply differential rates for the draft 2018-19 budget.
Differential rates were first introduced in 2008-09 to maintain the distribution of the rate burden between residential, commercial and industrial properties, as well as between improved and vacant land.
In a bid to discourage the holding of vacant land, and therefore promote development, the City applies a higher differential rate to vacant land.
The City’s draft 2018-19 budget is in the final stages and suggests the City requires $100.342 million to be made up from rates, which equates to an overall rate increase of 2.95 per cent.
However, the rate for vacant land will be set at twice the lowest differential rate.
Therefore, the proposed rate for improved residential properties is 5.4656 cents in the dollar with a minimum payment of $889, for improved commercial it is 6.7339 cents in the dollar with a minimum payment of $909 and for improved industrial it is 5.7375 cents in the dollar with a minimum payment of $909.
But for vacant residential, commercial and industrial, is it 10.9312 cents in the dollar with a minimum payment of $909.
At the meeting, Councillor John Chester said he could not support the “inappropriateness” of differential rates.
He said it was not the role of the council to “engage in social engineering” by having a larger rate on vacant land.
“Residents have the right to hold unimproved property,” he said.
“It’s a personal choice and well beyond the influence of local government.”
Cr Russell Poliwka agreed and said differential rates were unfair to small businesses.
Cr Tom McLean asked what would happen if differential rates were not imposed and corporate services director Mike Tidy said this would lead to an increase of residential rates by 6 per cent to allow for a decrease of 14 per cent for commercial and 47 per cent for vacant land.
He said with an average residential property paying about $1249 in rates, this 6 per cent increase would be another $75.
Community consultation will run for three weeks, with the council to consider the feedback before making a decision on the proposed rate increase and minimum payments along with the 2018-19 budget at its meeting on June 26.