What is the rate increase in percentage terms?
In 2019/20, the average general rates increase will be 2.5 per cent, in line with the state-wide rate cap.
There will also be an increase in the standard waste charge by $21, largely due to the impacts of the global recycling crisis and market disruption.
Does that mean my rates will increase by exactly 2.5 per cent from last year?
No, as rate increases are also based on the outcome of property valuations conducted by the Victorian Valuer General.
All Councils in Victoria are required to undertake new valuations every year and the City of Casey undertook a valuation of rateable properties as at 1 January 2019. Valuations are independently certified by the Valuer General.
Ratepayers should not expect their rates notice to rise by exactly the forecast inflation rate of 2.5 per cent, as the level of rates will be affected by the relative values of individual properties to the average rate.
Revaluation of your property does not increase the total amount of rate revenue collected by Council. Rather it determines the proportion of rates you need to pay relative to other property owners. The 2.5% rate cap applies to the overall amount of money that Council is receiving from rates.
If your property’s value grew by more than average, you will experience an increase to your rates higher than the 2.5%. Properties that grew in value by less than average (or decreased in value) will experience an increase lower than 2.5%.
Based on the preliminary property valuations, which are waiting certification from by the Victorian Valuer General, the rates will increase by an average of $21.34 and standard waste charge (garbage including a green waste bin) will increase by $21.
What has the waste charge increased this year?
The standard waste charge (garbage including a green waste bin) will increase by $21, reflecting challenges being experienced nation-wide due to market disruption in both international and local recycling markets.
Particularly there have been increases in the cost of:
- Processing recyclables due to the effect on global recycling markets of the China National Sword policy, and more locally the temporary closure of sites operated by the State’s largest recycler of kerbside material.
- Increased cost of processing garden organics as we transition to the second year of a regional organics contract which will ultimately allow the addition of food waste to the garden waste bin.
- Waste disposal costs which include the State Government Landfill Levy.
The State Government collects over $200 million per year from the Landfill Levy, of which about $4 million of this comes from Casey residents. The City of Casey calls on the State Government to do more to support councils with funds accumulated through the Landfill Levy including:
- Invest in recycling infrastructure
- Invest in the transition to Advanced Waste Processing
- Fund and support market development for recycled products
- Implement the Municipal Association of Victoria Rescue Our Recycling Action Plan
From the 2019/20 financial year, Council is also to introduce a charge for additional recycling bins, available on request as an alternative option to those requiring further recycling capacity. Residents in the existing service will be able to choose to cancel or retain their additional recycling bin for an annual fee of approximately $30.
Council has for many years provided residents with an additional recycling bin for free upon request. The cost of these additional bins had previously been partially subsidised by income received from Council’s recycling processor, with the remaining cost of the service included in the calculation of the Waste Services Charge applied to all properties.
This situation has changed, and the service is now significantly more expensive for Council to deliver.
Why are Casey’s rates higher than some other Councils?
Casey is faced with planning and providing for a rapidly growing community, which is a challenge many inner municipalities don’t have.
Casey is Victoria’s most populous municipality, with a current population of approximately 356,600 and that is expected to grow by around 12,000 people each year. Our population it tipped to grow to 514,800 by 2041.
We are taking steps now to plan for the future of our city, to ensure we can continue to deliver the essential services and infrastructure that residents enjoy now, into the future. This includes continuing our investment into new community infrastructure and service delivery.
Why can’t you reduce spending to allow for lower rates?
Council understands the financial pressures facing residents, but we cannot afford to stop our investment into community facilities, parks and roads or providing crucial services to many of our residents.
While increasing rates is not our preferred option, we have to balance the external costs being placed onto Council and our responsibility to continue delivering high quality services and building community infrastructure that our community not only needs but deserves.
What are my rates paying for?
Rates are used to fund Council’s investment in community infrastructure like maintaining, renewing and building new community and family centres and sports and recreation facilities and maintaining roads and parks, as well as support the delivery of important community services.
The Draft Budget features an operating budget of $344.8 million to ensure Council continues to provide vital services to more than 340,000 residents and $158.7 million Capital Works Program to fund a range of necessary infrastructure projects in our new, growing communities as well as undertake necessary renewals and improvements to our existing facilities.
What are the major initiatives being funded through the Capital Works Program in 2019/20?
This year’s $158.7 million Capital Works Program represents a record infrastructure investment for Casey to deliver much-needed projects across the City of Casey.
From local roads and footpaths to parks, sports fields and community facilities, this year’s program funds more than 330 projects from Endeavour Hills to Tooradin and everywhere in between.
Some of the major projects funded through the draft 2019/20 Capital Works Program include:
$38.1 million to improve Casey’s expansive road and path network
- Commence stage 1 of Hardys Road construction, from Clyde Road to Tuckers Road, and stage 1 Clyde Road/Hardys Road intersection, Clyde North ($9m)
- Commence intersection upgrade works between Grices Road, Glasscocks Road, Clyde Road and Berwick-Cranbourne Road and road duplication works between Berwick-Cranbourne Road and Viewgrand Drive, Cranbourne North ($2m)
$57.2 million to renew, upgrade and construct new sport and recreational facilities
- Continued construction of Regional Community Soccer Precinct at Casey Fields, Cranbourne East ($10m)
- Commence design and construction of new tennis courts (6-8) and a pavilion at Cairns Road Reserve, Hampton Park ($4.2m)
- Commence construction of new integrated community hub, Cranbourne West ($5.7m)
- Commence development of a new family and community centre integrated with the local primary school, Botanic Ridge ($3.5m)
$4.4 million to build and improve our playgrounds and open spaces
- Complete the construction of new regional, outdoor skate park, along with playground, terraced landscaping and lawn area, Endeavour Hills ($2.1m)
- Upgrades, improvements and developments to playgrounds across Casey ($1.4m)
$6.8 million to implement innovative technology to improve business performance and customer experience
- Investment into our business transformation program and Smart Cities initiatives to deliver smarter, simplified and streamlined business processes and technology to ensure we can meet the demands of our future city tipped to be home to half a million people by 2041.
You can full all the infrastructure projects proposed in Council’s 2019/20 Draft Budget on this project map.
What is the Business Transformation Program and why does Council need to invest in this?
In 2018, Council voted to fund a transformation program designed to advance the organisation’s business processes and associated technological systems.
The transformation program will enhance the work already undertaken by Council to develop our digital services, ultimately providing an even better experience for our residents.
The program is needed to deliver smarter, simplified, streamlined business processes and technology to support Council’s Digital Casey, Smart Cities and Customer Focus initiatives and future operational needs.
Our current systems are outdated, they run on technology that is costly to maintain and result in a substantial amount of manual handling by officers due to the fact that they don’t integrate or share data with one another.
The fact is, if we choose to do nothing it will cost us more money to maintain the systems and processes we currently have.
In the past ten years we have seen amazing new technology arrive on to the market. Our residents deserve the opportunity to benefit from this technology, and our Council will depend on it to absorb rate capping and growth pressures.
Over the next 20 years our population will grow to over 500,000, the equivalent of Tasmania or the ACT. We need systems that can grow with our population and support us to continue to deliver for a community of that size.
Does the Fire Services Property Levy generate additional income for Council?
All Victorian Councils are required to collect this levy on behalf of the Victorian Government and must pass the full amount on to the State Revenue Office.
The Fire Services Property Levy will continue to appear as a separate charge on your Council rates.
This replaces the fire services contributions which residents and businesses previously made through their insurance premiums on their properties.
What if I am having difficulty paying my rates?
Any ratepayer facing financial difficulties is encouraged to contact Council on 9705 5200 to discuss payment options in-line with Council’s Hardship Policy.
How can I have my say on the Draft Budget?
All residents are invited to view the Draft Budget and make a submission up until 5.00 pm on Tuesday 4 June 2019.
The Draft Budget is available for inspection at the City of Casey’s Customer Service Centres or can be downloaded from www.caseyconversations.com.au. Submissions can be made online via a form on the Casey Conversations page.
Alternatively, ratepayers can send written submission addressed to the CEO and email to email@example.com or mailed to PO Box 1000, Narre Warren, 3805.
Any resident who makes a submission on the budget will have the opportunity to present to Council on 11 June 2019 at a Special Council Meeting.
The Council will consider any written submissions, prior to adopting the budget at a Special Council Meeting at Bunjil Place Tuesday 18 June 2019.