Demand for fair deal

Residents’ Association chairman Ray Thompson with committee members Janette Arndt, Bill Allan and Margaret Baldwin.
Residents’ Association chairman Ray Thompson with committee members Janette Arndt, Bill Allan and Margaret Baldwin.

Settlers Ridgewood Rise Residents� Association chairman Ray Thompson is calling for a differential rating system to be imposed on the village�s 240 homes.

Mr Thompson said a reduction was required because the over-55s community covered the cost of maintaining its own roads, kerbs and gardens, as well as street lights they paid �significant� electricity bills for.

And he said the City was profiting from retirees living on smaller lots in higher numbers, collecting almost double the combined rates from the village than homeowners in a nearby development of the same size.

�It�s morally wrong what they�re doing. We are seniors and we are not getting a fair deal,� Mr Thompson said.

�The differential rates policy, which is what we think should be applied, has five principles: objectivity, fairness and equity, consistency, transparency and administrative efficiency.

�They are not being fair; they are taking twice as much off this block of land than for that block of land.�

Butler MLA John Quigley has thrown his weight behind the issue, telling Parliament last month that the City was �gouging� the residents.

He said the City could �reduce the rating burden�, making it no more than if the land had been subdivided to the maximum permissible density under the zoning laws and held by private residents.

He said the City could also deduct the expenses it did not have to meet.

Seeking backing from Local Government Minister Tony Simpson, Mr Quigley said he was encouraged Mr Simpson had urged the Settlers Ridgewood Rise residents to apply for differential rating and would not veto the decision.

Wanneroo councillor Sabine Winton presented a petition with the request at Council�s March 31 meeting.

�Many of these residents do it really tough with the cost-of-living pressures rising all the time,� Cr Winton told the Times last week.

�As a councillor I know rates are a significant cost to our seniors trying to balance their budgets.

�As a result of the petition I tabled on behalf of the residents, administration will now prepare a report for council�s consideration which will allow us to debate this issue.�

Corporate strategy and performance director Noelene Jennings confirmed the City was looking into the matter and would provide an update to the petition at the April 28 council meeting.

Ms Jennings said the City levied general rates using the differential rating method it had adopted at the special meeting of joint commissioners in 1999.

At the time she said it was determined that the differential rating categories would be based on the use of the land.