Many people have been asking me whether, inconsequence of their individual property valuations going down, the rates issued by Council will also go down. The answer is that is not necessarily the case and I will endeavour to explain why.
Rates are a Council’s primary source of income and are needed to pay for the provision of services to the community. These services include the administration of laws and regulations to help communities run smoothly, community services, sporting and recreational services, road maintenance and upgrades, environmental planning, public health, environmental protection, waste treatment and disposal, water, sewerage and economic development.
Every Council must, prior to the commencement of each new financial year, determine how much money it will need to run the Council to provide these community services as mentioned above. As well as these services, other inherent costs such as insurance and depreciation must also be taken into account. This combined amount, less any grants or other income Council may reasonably expect to receive from elsewhere, including from State and Federal Governments, becomes the amount that Council must raise through its rating revenue.
Councils must then determine a rate in the dollar to be applied to all the properties in its area for purposes of recovering the funds needed. Rates in the dollar may be calculated as a flat rate over all properties, or may differ in value, dependent upon the different category or use of the property. Councils may determine different categories so as to ensure equitableness across the various uses.
Generally speaking, you will see distinctions between residential land, rural land, commercial land and industrial land.
That rate in the dollar is then applied to the valuation of the property and that determines the amount of general rate that you as a landholder must pay.
The fact that a land valuation goes up or down has no bearing on the amount of money that Council requires to pay for the services it provides to the community. The rate in the dollar must be adjusted up or down dependent upon the movement of the valuation to achieve the funds needed by Council to provide the services as indicated above.
Rates can only go down if the costs to be incurred by Council go down. That can only occur in two ways. The first is by additional funding being received from elsewhere, or by Council cutting out a particular service, or reducing the level of service provided, thus reducing cost.
As a Council, we are not inclined to reduce services, but rather we strive to better services and infrastructure for the community. We therefore strive to look for efficiencies and improvement as a way of minimising costs.
Unfortunately, Councils are not immune to cost increases in provision of services. Costs of labour and materials needed to provide the services continue to increase with inflation and that in the main is the continuing driver of rate increases.
As well as the General Rate, Council levies Utility Charges for the provision of specific services to specific properties. Utility Charges include water, sewerage and waste collection. The distinction between General Rates and Utility Charges is that general rates are non-property specific, but rather are funds raised for provision of services to the community as a whole i.e. roads, parks and libraries.
Reminder to our Boating Fraternity
A reminder to our boating fraternity that islands located within the Palm Island Local Government area (including Fantome, Curacoa, Havannah and Brisk) remain declared designated areas under the Biosecurity Act 2015 (Commonwealth). Travel to the islands concerned remains prohibited. Recent notifications issued by the Queensland Chief Health Officer and Queensland Health concern residents and family members of Palm Island being allowed to travel within a designated travel zone of Palm Island including Townsville and Hinchinbrook Local Government areas as of 12 June 2020. This arrangement does not allow for other members of the public to travel to any of the islands within the Palm Island Local Government area.
Powerlink helicopter inspections
Powerlink has informed Council that routine helicopter inspections of Powerlink transmission lines throughout Hinchinbrook Shire will take place during June and July 2020 weather permitting. Low flying helicopter inspections are critical to ensure the ongoing safety and reliability of the high voltage electricity network.
Council’s plans towards works in identifying the main street of Halifax as a heritage precinct and are progressing with foundations for heritage lights recently installed in the main street. It is anticipated that the actual lights will be installed within the next fortnight.
Saturday 6 June 2020 was Queensland Day. Happy Birthday Queensland! It was appropriate on this day that we acknowledged all those people in our community that stood at the front line and continued to deliver the vital services to our communities at the commencement of and continuing COVID-19 crisis. To all those people working in retail, health, education, administration, clerical, cleaning, hospitality and the list goes on, a big thank you for your help and support. We sincerely appreciate your dedication to duty.
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COUNCIL CONNECTIONS - 10 JUNE 2020