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Swan rate review backflip

THE City of Swan’s rate method review is  likely to be postponed until after the state government completes a review of the Local Government Act 1995.

Echo News understand Mayor David Lucas plans to introduce a motion to that effect at the next council meeting.

Chief executive officer Mike Foley didn’t confirm or deny this but did say the council in consultation with city staff, was discussing a range of options regarding the next steps for the unimproved value (UV) rate review.

“If pursued, these options will be presented (in the form of motions) to the council at the city’s next agenda forum on December 6 for consideration,’’ he said.

Planning Minister and West Swan MLA Rita Saffioti has also called on the city to postpone its review of the rate method until after the completion of the Swan Valley Review.

Ms Saffioti said ratepayers had raised serious concerns and she believed any review of how the city charged rates should wait until the outcomes of the state government’s review of the Swan Valley Protection Bill and Development Plan – the Swan Valley Planning Act 1995.

She said she was not consulted about the City of Swan rate method review.

In a letter to Mr Foley, Ms Saffioti said there was a lot of concern about the review of the rate method for unimproved land in rural areas.

She also wanted the city to wait until after the review of the Local Government Act 1995, being carried out by the Department of Local Government.

“I believe the timing of this review by the city is premature as the state government reviews are ongoing,’’ she said.

“These reviews and any resultant changes to either Act will potentially impact the application of gross rental value and unimproved value in rating rurally zoned properties,’’ she said.

“The completion of these reviews present considerable risk that the city would need to undertake a further review in the future, which will unnecessarily present additional costs to ratepayers.

“I believe it would provide more certainty and clarity to ratepayers if the city postpones its review until after the completion of the state government reviews.

“This would allow the city to consider the findings and make an informed decision on the best way forward.’’

By Anita McInnes

About Anita

Anita Mcinnes received a highly commended in the 2009 WA Media Awards suburban section for her reporting. Two of her sons were born at Swan District Hospital and for many years she was a partner in a small business, which operated in the Gingin-Muchea-Bullsbrook area. As a mature age student Anita studied journalism at Curtin University before working in Busselton, Dunsborough and Rockingham with West Regionals. She says the best part of her job is meeting eastern suburb residents and visiting the many attractions in the area.

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