Rural rates in question

Tony Jeglic
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Rural residents have raised concerns over Council rates amid the public exhibition of Council’s four year Delivery Program.

The revised Delivery Program outlines the rates and charges residents will pay for services such as storm water and waste management, and is now available for public comment.

In a Council meeting last week, Councillors highlighted concerns with the report’s content that outlined the higher fees and charges for those living in rural areas.

Llandilo resident Ray Madden has owned his property for 40 years, and said rates in town are already around a third of what rural residents pay.

“We pay three times the in town rate and all we get is a garbage service,” he said.

Tony Jeglic has lived in Llandilo for 30 years, and said the rate differences between rural and suburban areas is out of proportion.

“It makes no sense to me because the service provided by Council is actually less. We have no sewerage, we have septic tanks. We have to deal with our own waste water and own storm water, and that all has to be managed on site that we are responsible for the cost for,” he said.

“What we are paying compared to what we receive is disproportionate. It costs you more to maintain the property and you receive less services from Council.”

Councillor Marcus Cornish highlighted that there should be the same rates on both types of properties, regardless of their size.

“There should be the same rates on both [rural and suburban] properties, whether they are one acre or 400 acres. It is big difference between people in and out of town,” he said.

Council receives 43 per cent of its total revenue from the LGA’s 69,614 rateable properties, and each property’s rate value is determined by its land value.

Councillor John Thain said Council has discussed rates many times but when land value goes up, the rates do too.

“People who are finding it difficult to pay rates should call Council and discuss hardship – we’re not cruel,” he said.

The Delivery Program that includes the Operation Plan and Fees and Charges for the next two years is on public exhibition until June 2.

To access the documents and make a submission, visit Penrith City Council’s website or find the documents in hard copy at the Civic Centre 601 High St, Penrith.

– Dale Drinkwater

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