By ALLISON HORE
Upcoming changes to the way rates are calculated in the Inner West will leave some ratepayers out of pocket up to 20 percent more.
Currently there are three rates structures across the Inner West. This disparity comes as a result of the three pre-amalgamation councils- Ashfield Council, Leichhardt Council and Marrickville Council- using different structures to calculate rates.
But under the NSW Government’s Local Government Act all amalgamated councils are required by law to “harmonise” rates by July this year. This will mean there will be one, consistent, rating system across the whole Inner West local government area.
Rates will be calculated in proportion to property valuations supplied by the NSW Valuer General, with a consistent minimum rate across the whole amalgamated local government area.
The Inner West council say that they are not increasing rates overall but as a result of harmonisation some residents’ rates may increase while others’ rates will decrease. This means the changes “will not increase the total rate revenue received.” The total amount of rates revenue received may only be increased each year in line with the rate peg.
Winners and losers
The new minimum rate for residential properties will be $850, while for businesses it will be $820.
On average, residents in the former Ashfield and Leichhardt council areas will- for the most part- see a decrease in the amount of cash forked out for rates, while those in Marrickville are likely to see an increase.
Independent Inner West councillor, Pauline Lockie, said while she believes the changes are more equitable it is important for locals to understand how they will be impacted by the changes.
“While harmonisation means rates will be paid equitably in proportion to the land value in the Inner West, what this means for those of us in the old Marrickville LGA is that, for almost all of us, our rates will be going up,” said Ms. Lockie
“It’s really important to understand how these changes impact you.”
In the 2020 to 2021 financial year, the average Marrickville homeowner is paying around $765. Under the harmonised scheme, that amount will increase to $908.
Those owning residential properties of lower than average value in the former Leichhardt local government area will also see their rates increase significantly from around $686 to the minimum rate of $850. Those in the area with properties of average or higher than average value will see an 8 percent decrease in rates.
In the former Ashfield council area rates on residential properties are estimated to drop by between 14 to 30 percent.
Businesses will see an increase in rates across the board in Marrickville and Ashfield. But for Leichhardt businesses, rates will drop.
The Inner West council is currently collecting feedback on the new rates structure.
To find out how you will be affected by the rates harmonisation, you can use the Rates Calculator on the Inner West Council website. Feedback on the new rates structure will be open until the 7th of February.