Retirees’ push to get lower rates knocked by Wanneroo council


Ray Thompson, Janette Arndt, Bill Allan and Margaret Baldwin. Settlers Rise residents have submitted a petition calling for council to consider applying a differential rating system. Picture: Emma Goodwin d436115
Ray Thompson, Janette Arndt, Bill Allan and Margaret Baldwin. Settlers Rise residents have submitted a petition calling for council to consider applying a differential rating system. Picture: Emma Goodwin d436115

A PUSH by retirees to get lower rates has been knocked by the Wanneroo council.

Settlers Ridgewood Rise Residents Association chairman Ray Thompson raised the issue of rates for retirement villages last year, saying they put people living in them “out of pocket”.

The April 5 council agenda included a report on the rating strategy review that outlined options for setting the differential rating system used to calculate annual rates for landowners.

Previously: Rate review applauded.

Councillors unanimously supported the report’s recommendation to maintain the current categories, not adding one for lifestyle villages, and increase the rates for residential vacant land.

“The report that we have offers nothing and importantly doesn’t address the inequity of retirement villages,” Mr Thompson said during a deputation before the meeting.

The Ridgewood resident said rating categories were set on the basis that ratepayers make a reasonable contribution.

He said rates should not be the same for a four-bedroom, two-bathroom house and a two-bedroom unit in a retirement village.

Mr Thompson said in a privately owned village, services such as street cleaning, lights and verge maintenance were provided, with the City responsible for rubbish collection.

“We have not been getting what we are due,” he said.

“We receive much less than residents in the suburbs.”

The City’s corporate strategy and performance director Noelene Jennings said the committee looked at all the issues raised by Mr Thompson, including housing densities and rubbish collection.

“They are users of services just as all other ratepayers are users of services,” she said.

Ms Jennings said they also looked at rates for vacant land, and would increase those, which would lead to reductions in other categories.

The report said each retirement village had to be valued as a whole, and each was private property so the owners were responsible for maintaining roads, kerbs, street lighting, sporting and clubhouse facilities and open space in them.

“The residents of the lifestyle villages are provided with the same level of works and services outside the village as all other ratepayers being rated on a differential rating category of residential improved,” it said.

Saying it was unfair that RAAFA villages were exempt from rates, Mr Thompson also criticised the City for having relatively low rates for undeveloped residential land.

“The City of Wanneroo is the only council where the minimum rate for vacant land has been reducing every year,” he said.

The report said the two RAAFA villages in Merriwa and Brightwater Care’s village in Madeley were exempt because they had nursing homes.

The Shire of Wanneroo Aged Persons Home Trust and Bethanie Beachside in Yanchep are also exempt.

The report said increasing rates for residential vacant land to levels similar to other councils – from $615 to $832 – would result in a 40 per cent increase and an extra $3 million revenue.

Previously: Demand for fair deal.

Councillor Domenic Zappa successfully moved an amendment that the council would not “at this point in time support differential rating of lifestyle villages within its annual budget”.

“The purpose of this amendment is to close off and provide a bit of certainty on the objectives of the committee in regards to the recommendations it’s made,” he said.

Cr Sabine Winton spoke against the amendment, saying there were concerns for residents in all lifestyle villages.

“I don’t believe that it will go away in the long term,” she said.

“We are entitled as a council to set a differential rate system; we could have made a good submission to the Department of Local Government and Community.”

Crs Winton and Nat Sangalli voted against the amendment and all other councillors present supported it.

All councillors voted in favour of the overall recommendation, as amended, endorsing the strategy to get the City into the top quartile of rates on vacant land by 2018-19.

They also agreed to explore the option of providing a 240L green waste bin and 120L general waste bin, and options for providing bulk waste and green waste bins on demand as part of the waste strategy paper.

Current rates for lifestyle villages (2015-16)

Lake Joondalup Lifestyle Village: $147,805

Pineview Lifestyle Village: $103,097

Settlers Ridgewood Rise: $290,565

Regents Garden Residential Resort: $108,099

Lakelands Leisure Village: $41,059

Applicable rates for exempt villages

RAAFA Merriwa: $248,134

RAAFA Cambrai: $307,888

Brightwater Care: $228,860

Shire of Wanneroo Aged Persons Home Trust: $170,958

Bethanie Beachside: $32,839