Following on from our post last week, which itself was in response to an excellent piece from Loose Change, we have now had some time to take a look at the general rates being charged across the region for the 2014-15 financial year.
As was highlighted in the original post, the only sensible way to compare the level of general rates across Councils with widely varying property values is to look at what rate the median value residential property would attract (i.e. what are most people paying in general rates). Having done that (using the Valuer General’s 2014 property value report and the relevant Council Revenue Statements from their most recent budgets) we get the following:-
|Council||Median Residential property value||General rate payable|
Due to the recent de-amalgamation the new Mareeba Shire has not yet made budget and rates information available on their website.
It is also worth noting (as we highlighted in our post on their Budget) that the Douglas Shire, despite having increased rates by 5.2% this year, is looking to run a deficit of some 15% of revenue this year. Clearly rates in Douglas have some way to go in coming years if the Council is to return to balance any time soon (as the QTC highlighted in their de-amalgamation report).
Rates in the Cassowary Coast, on this analysis, are clearly high compared to other Councils in the region; although reasons for this will be myriad including things such as a small rates base, high infrastructure costs due to high rainfall (lots of bridges and culverts that need maintaining) and a lot of recently acquired infrastructure (much of it newly built following cyclone events) that will be incurring high depreciation costs. Inefficiencies within Council’s expenditures obviously also need to be looked at.