Rates relief plea
VACANT landowners are being charged too much for rates in South Gippsland Shire Council, according to Korumburra ratepayer Paul Richardson.
He told council as much at last Wednesday’s public presentation sessions.
He told The Star he and his wife Francesca plan to build a home on their 2.84 acre block but could not afford to do so now, but were still being charged council rates of $2090 this financial year.
Vacant land owners pay 200 per cent of the residential rate in the shire.
He is calling for rates to be charged on site value alone, not capital improved value, believing that would result in cheaper rates for all ratepayers.
“Council does not take into consideration the income these property owners bring in. They are not rich people,” Mr Richardson said.
In the 28 years he has owned the block, Mr Richardson said he has not received kerbside rubbish collection and yet his rates bill was taking its toll.
“This financial year, we are looking at between nine and 10 payments, and we might have to seek to go on the hardship policy because if they keep putting the rates up, how are we going to afford it?,” he said.
His block has sheds, gardens and paddocks, and seven sheep he said were “lawnmowers”.
“It’s not that I don’t want to pay the rates. We are happy to pay them if they are affordable,” Mr Richardson said.
He has previously served as a councillor with the City of Casey, where he lives at Endeavour Hills, and could run for council there again when the election is held in October this year.
He will not stand for South Gippsland council, given he is not a permanent resident, although he would like to be.
“I love this place and this is the place where I want to die and have my ashes thrown across the winds,” Mr Richardson said.
After Mr Richardson addressed council last Wednesday, mayor Cr Bob Newton said a hard waste service was available.
Cr Nigel Hutchinson-Brooks said he believed council’s valuation staff were accurate in their valuations for rating purposes.
Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=17673