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Byron Shire
May 10, 2021

Richmond Valley GM wrong on rates

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I understand that the general manager of Richmond Valley Council spoke on ABC radio this week about the proposed rate rise for the local government area and was heard to say that rates were a ‘tax’ on property based on value and were not related to services provided.

Interesting take on the local government act.

Ratepayers who live at the coast pay much higher rates than the ‘average’ rate for our council area. I understand the same applies to other councils. I heard one caller to the ABC talk about this.

Council has an obligation under Section 8 of the NSW Local Government Act for the ‘fair imposition of rates’.

Section 529 of the same Act gives council the mechanism for creating fairness through adjustment of the ad valorem or ‘cents in the dollar’ charge on the unimproved capital value of the properties so that we are all charged roughly the same amount for the services we receive.

Richmond Valley Council needs to meet its obligations under the Local Government Act and adjust the cents in the dollar appropriately so that ratepayers at the coast are longer subsidising property owners who are probably receiving the same goods and services as those at the coast.

It is also time for local government to review the notion that those who have higher property values also have greater capacity to pay. Many at the coast are retirees on fixed incomes.

Can local government impose a ‘tax’ on us?

Time for some fairness. And time for big developers to be paying full rent so that the ordinary ratepayers are not subsidising their developments.

The sale of the whole of the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome for $2.5 million without public tender is a steal and equivalent to 10 residential housing blocks.

Perhaps this explains why Richmond Valley Council is chronically short of money. Where is the business plan which shows this will benefit ratepayers?

We are well past ‘trickledown’ economics and the alleged benefits we will receive.

Private property is not an ATM for local government.

Dr Richard Gates, president, Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome Committee

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