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Balonne Shire plans move to single rural rating structure

Balonne Shire Council plans to phase in a new rural rating structure over the next seven years after an extensive review of rates and charges.

Mayor Richard Marsh said Councillors had been on a two-year journey with senior Council officers to move to a single rural rate in the dollar.

“We have decided to phase it in over the next seven years to minimise the impact these changes will have on our rural ratepayers,” he said.

“Last week I presented our proposed Budget and the new rating scheme to Councillors at a special Council meeting. The Budget will now ‘lay on the table’ until the Special Budget Meeting on 27 June 2019.”

Cr Marsh said the proposed rating changes would consolidate categories and simplify the rural rating structure.

“This new scheme will provide a consistent approach to the Shire’s rural categories and allow the valuations to take into account the inherent differences in the income-earning potential of the land,” he said.

“It takes into account the cost of maintaining existing Council facilities and necessary services, long-term financial sustainability and the significant fluctuations in earlier land valuations done by the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy.”

Council’s Director Finance and Corporate Services Michelle Clarke said the proposed new rating strategy would reduce 15 rural rating categories down to four.

“Categories 60 through to 63 and 65 through to 75 will be moved into four rating categories 100, 200, 300 and 500,” she said.  

“Over the past two years Council, with the help of two independent consultants, has workshopped a number of models before settling on this one which will see rural properties transition to a single rural rate in the dollar.

“We anticipate the seven-year transition will lessen the impact on individual properties and where necessary limitations will apply.

“Our team are in the process of contacting property owners who will change categories under the new model and they will be offered a one-on-one session to explain the changes.

“If approved by Council at the Budget meeting on 27 June 2019 the changes will be included in the August 2019 levy.”

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