How your rates are calculated

Message from Shire President David Lavell

With the adoption of Shire of Mundaring's 2017/18 budget at the Special Council Meeting on Wednesday 19 July, many residents will have already received their rates notices with the remainder to be received by the end of the week.

While it's fair to say, nobody enjoys paying rates, they form an integral part of the income used in Council budgets to deliver the many services and infrastructure enjoyed by our local community. In our neighbourhood, this includes the Boya Community Centre, construction of the new Mundaring Arena, the ongoing maintenance of parks, footpaths, local aquatic centres and other major tourist attractions such as Lake Leschenaultia.

While people have a general understanding as to why they need to pay their rates, there is some confusion as to how they are determined. It is a common misunderstanding that rates are solely determined by the value of your property. People wrongly assume, especially when property prices are falling, that if the value of their house has decreased then so should their rates, when this is not the case.

Another misconception about rates are is that they should align with the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Unfortunately, this does not accurately reflect the cost pressures that apply to local government. The CPI is an inflation measure calculated by considering the price movements of items determined to represent the cost of living.

Rates are just one component that contribute to setting the CPI and not the other way around. Like all Councils, Shire of Mundaring's cost structure is impacted by more factors than the cost of living. These include reductions in funding and cost shifting from state government, to name a few. In our Shire, the rates notice includes the Emergency Service Levy which is collected on behalf of the State Government. There is also a waste charge, which is based on full cost recovery for the service. All add to the pressure on rates.

This year, I encourage all ratepayers to consider the factors that have impacted our 2017/18 budget. As mentioned previously, we are very fortunate to have the new Boya Community Centre (and library) and a state-of-the-art $10.1m Mundaring Arena which is due for completion at the end of the year. We are also working towards a better Mundaring Town Centre with the recent adoption of the masterplan. Our initiatives, as outlined in the Strategic Community Plan 2016-2026, reflect our ongoing commitment to our community's needs.

I urge anyone who is not clear on how the budget was determined to contact their local ward councillor. All contact details can be found on Shire of Mundaring's website under 'Council'. Alternatively, click the 'Rates' tab, also on the website to read more about how rates are calculated.

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