The State Government has given all amalgamated councils, including Bayside, until July 2021 to harmonise their rate structures ensuring ratepayers are charged under one formula that redistributes the current rates revenue fairly across all ratepayers.
The State Government’s imposed rates freeze on amalgamated councils in 2016 ensured residents paid no more than they would have under their old council until 2021.
Rates paid by Bayside Council ratepayers are currently calculated using the formulas devised by the former Rockdale and Botany Councils.
Bayside Council is required to develop and introduce a single “fair and equitable” system by 1 July 2021 as the current legislation makes no provision for a deferred or staged implementation.
The State Government requires all councils to comply with this legislative requirement regardless of how significant the change is on rates to be paid by individual ratepayers.
Bayside Council resolved to move forward with consulting the community on rate harmonisation as currently mandated by the State Government, but left the door open for a gradual (multi-year) implementation should the current legislation be amended prior to July 2021.
The process of harmonising rates across Bayside does not increase the total rate revenue collected by Council.
Rate harmonisation simply redistributes the current rate income equally across all ratepayers based on the unimproved land value of their property. For example, when harmonised a $750,000 property, regardless of what former council it is located in, will pay the same amount of rates.
This is currently not the case. The average residential rate for Rockdale is $1,164, compared to Botany’s average of $709.
The current minimum rates are $768 for Rockdale and $553 for Botany.
Once implemented, all Bayside ratepayers will pay the same for their rates depending on the value of their land.
In the coming weeks more information about the process and what it means will be made available and Council will engage extensively with ratepayers and the community to ensure they are fully informed.
Council will also write to all ratepayers regarding the changes, and all the information, as well as a rates calculator, will soon be available on Council’s website.