The vast majority of Victorian councils have kept their rates in check for a second year, complying with a state government cap, according to a new report from the body responsible for overseeing the system.
The Essential Services Commission has delivered its second report on the compliance of councils with the limit set by the Minister for Local Government under the Fair Go Rates system introduced in 2015–16. The report found there were no major compliance or systemic issues.
The commission’s Andrew Chow says 76 of the state’s councils were fully compliant with the average rate cap of 2.0 per cent, or with an approved higher cap.
“Three councils were over the cap but there were reasonable explanations with one (Moorabool Shire) being ‘material’ meaning it was important, while two (Northern Grampians and Wellington Shire) were ‘immaterial’ as they were minimal in the cost to ratepayers and related to rounding errors,” he said.
The average cost per property of the two immaterial breaches of the cap was 23 cents or less while the cost of the material non-compliance was $2.35 per average property.
Mr Chow says Moorabool has advised the error was administrative due to ‘incorrectly applying the capped average rate when calculating total revenue for 2017–18’.
“The additional $39,000 in revenue this error generated will be returned to ratepayers in their 2018–19 rates,” he said.
*The impact on the average ratepayer is the difference between the capped average rate and the maximum allowable capped average rate.