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Rate Harmonisation - UPDATE

By Manly Community Forum
Published in Council
3 min read

UPDATE: 9/03/2021

You may know of the big hike in Council rates heading your way, and hopefully, you’ve read the detail in our February newsletter. The forced amalgamation of the three Northern Beaches councils has resulted in a State Government requirement to “harmonise” rates across the Peninsula. The process which is supposed to “ensure that properties of the same land value, within the same category or sub category, pay the same rates for the same level of Council service”, may seem like harmony to the ratepayers to our North who get a rates reduction. But we are lumped with a huge increase, largely because our land values are substantially higher than those in the former Warringah and Pittwater areas.

The Council have asked for your comments, but they probably have little option under current State Government requirements to ease the financial pain. Instead, we believe the Council could do a bit more for the Manly Ward by way of general maintenance or improved “place management”, as well as speeding up the infrastructure update program, which seems to be slowing as the budget control gets tighter.

Please don’t just accept the changes. Let the Council know your concerns through “Your Say” on the Council website and on the Customer Service Line 1300 434 434.

The Manly Business Chamber is also angry with the rating system selected for local businesses, which lumps Manly village in with multi-story shopping centres with commercial rates to match. They have petitioned the Council and relevant State MPs.

We consider that there are different issues here in the Manly Ward. We are the entry point to the Northern Beaches and a major tourist destination. This does bring some benefits to some commercial businesses but puts a strain on all resources and costs and as such should be looked at in a different light to other areas of the Northern Beaches. LET THE COUNCIL KNOW WHAT YOU THINK.

12/2/2021: Rate payers in the former Manly Local Government area can expect to see rates increase more than 25% from next year. Amalgamation means the Northern Beaches Council has to find a way to calculate and charge home and business owners’ rates equally and fairly across the region. Council has had a few years to work this out, but now the NSW Government has said it must happen.

Previously each council calculated its rates using a different ‘ad valorem’ (Latin for ‘according to value’) amount. How this works is where a property for example is valued by the NSW Valuer General as worth $100,000 then it would attract a rate bill of $500 e.g. 0.5 x $100,000.

Currently the 17,704 Manly ratepayer’s ad valorem is 0.122489 which raises $24,726,790 in rates revenue compared with Pittwater’s 23,563 ratepayer’s 0.159125 totalling $39,520,070 and Warringah’s 54,395 ratepayer’s 0.163768 totalling $78,979,984. Business rates also vary dramatically between the various areas.

On top of this amount councils could also apply to increase their rates by a percentage but the NSW Government determined the ‘rate peg’, which was the maximum percentage amount by which a council may increase its rates for general income for each year. This percentage increase varied between the councils as well as adding further complexity to the rating differences.

Manly ratepayers have been paying the lowest ‘rate’ per $100,000 of land value on the Peninsula and therefore if this continues Manly ratepayers will continue to provide a lower revenue percentage to Council as a proportion of land value compared with their neighbours further north.

Whilst the land value of the former Warringah residential ratepayers represents 50% of Northern Beaches Council’s total residential land values, the former Warringah residents contribute 55% of rates income. The land values for former Manly residents represent 21% of total land value, however we only contribute 17% of residential rates income.

The Northern Beaches Council claims that most former Manly ratepayers have seen a significant reduction in their rates notice since amalgamation due to a large reduction in their waste services charge – down from $660 in 2017 to $446 in 2021. Last financial year Manly paid less overall for their rates and charges than before amalgamation. But those who are looking to getting a rise of over $1000 might not agree.

Get more information and have your say here.

To find out how much your rates will go up, use the Council’s rate calculator tool here


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