Rate payers across Inverell Shire can be forgiven for being a little confused about their latest rate notices. Annual charges for individual properties fluctuate between more than the double the amount charged last year to less than half.
While some property owners had braced for a rate hike reflecting the special variation increase of 4.75 percent announced by Inverell Shire Council earlier this year, others have received increases far beyond that amount.
The variations have nothing to do with the council. It is the Valuer General or VG calculations on the rateable land value of each property. “Council uses [rateable land values] as the basis for calculating the general rates,” Inverell Shire Council’s Manager of Financial Services, Paul Pay said. This has impacted the rates notices currently landing in local mail boxes.
In the latest round of property valuations set in 2016, the VG appears to have made a somewhat sporadic range of increases and decreases across the shire. Changes that have led to some properties, sitting side by side in the same street, receiving significantly different valuations.
For example, one farmland property had a 153.53 percent increase calculated while another received a 61.54 percent decrease. The valuations are made on unimproved land values, making variable results between neighboring land blocks potentially more difficult to understand.
The inclusion of VG valuations in determining rate charges is a standard local government practice neither invented nor restricted to Inverell Shire Council. The VG’s valuation changes will not affect all rate payers in Inverell. Properties sitting within the average range of valuations will not see significant changes in rates charges.
However, there are consequences for landholders outside the average range. This includes the 926 residential properties given a valuation increase of 26.23 percent as opposed to the 13 residential properties whose valuations dropped by 27.18 percent.
For info about the rateable land valuations and how they are applied to notices, visit wwwvaluergeneral.nsw.gov.au or call 1800 110 038.