City of Swan defers review of rates, public submissions sought

City of Swan defers review of rates, public submissions sought

CITY of Swan councillors have voted to defer a review of rates for rural property owners until the Local Government Act 1995 has been reviewed and legislated following significant community concern.

Councillor Charlie Zannino put forward a motion at Wednesday night’s ordinary council meeting asking that following the completion of the Local Government Act review, a report be prepared outlining the impacts and implications of the new legislation in regard to the City’s rating strategy, including rating options and recommendations.

The council voted unanimously to defer the item in front of a packed gallery of ratepayers.

In an effort to improve transparency with ratepayers, councillor Rod Henderson put forward a motion that the City make public, and place on the City website, the legal advice received from McLeod Barristers and Solicitors containing information received pertaining to UV/GRV land rating.

Currently 4000 residents in the City are on rural hobby farms rated on unimproved valuation (UV) and could be at risk of changing to gross rental value (GRV) under the review, which some fear could result in rate rises.

Brigadoon Progress Association representative Rachel Ivic said common sense had prevailed.

“The decision to defer has bought us some time,” she said.

“This will give residents a little more comfort in that people power can work.

“There are certainly some lessons to be learnt on the manner, time and style the City communicated with ratepayers, and hopefully they will work differently next time.”

Gidgegannup Progress Association spokeswoman Sally Block said it was a fantastic result.

“Now the review has been deferred ratepayers need to get their submissions in for the Local Government Act review,” she said.

“Charlie Zannino has supported us, so has Minister for Local Government, Minister for Planning and Transport and Jessica Shaw, now it is our turn to make our submissions.

“It is ridiculous to change people to GRV when they are miles out in the bush and that is what we hope will be reflected in this review.”

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