News

Structure off ice

By Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Some rates will increase and others will fall when a new Edward River Council rating structure is implemented next financial year.

It replaces two separate structures used by the former Deniliquin and Conargo Shire Councils prior to their merger in 2016.

Rating categories were frozen for four years as part of the merger transition deal.

The 21 individual sub-categories have been replaced with just six in the new structure, with all farmland rated the same with an ad valorem rate of $0.681462.

There are three residential categories — rural, town and ordinary (all non rural rated properties outside the Deniliquin township) — and business rates are separated between town and ordinary.

General manager Adam McSwain was reluctant to reveal an ‘average’ rate price using the new structure, saying ‘‘it can be very different for each property’’.

He said it is important to highlight that the total amount council can collect from rates will change very little.

‘‘The overall size of the pie will be the same, we’re just looking at how it is distributed to the different rating categories,’’ he said.

‘‘Across the board we have tried to be as equitable as we can, and we have reduced large impacts as much as possible.

‘‘Some ratepayers will see an increase in their rates, but some may see a decrease.

‘‘We will be able to release more details of what rates (prices) will look like in February.’’

The income council expects to generate from rates in the 2020-2021 financial year is $7,479,493. Of that, $2.9 million is expected to be levied from residential town, $2.7 from farmland and just over $1 million from town businesses.

Mayor Norm Brennan said council is focused on creating the most equitable rate structure for the region.

‘‘This council’s term ends next year, in September, and I believe it is important that we oversee the program of rates harmonisation under our watch,” he said.

‘‘This is a difficult and complex process that will have an impact on individual rate assessments as we work towards harmonisation of the former councils’ rating structures.

‘‘How significant that impact is will vary and be influenced by a number of factors.

‘‘Rate harmonisation is focused only on general land rates and does not include annual water, sewer and other charges.’’

The impact of rates harmonisation on ratepayers is also influenced significantly by land valuations, determined every three years by the NSW Valuer General.

The next land revaluation is due to take effect on July 1, 2020.