1. Aren’t rates capped?

It is the municipal rates line of your bill that is capped by the State Government, not the total bill. Overall this is capped at 2% but Greater Dandenong Council has kept the average residential rate rise at 0.41% (the other categories are commerical, industrial and farm) this year. Please remember that these figures are overall figures and that as per the answers below – individual rate accounts will vary for the reasons outlined below.

  1. What are the other charges on the bill?

Waste charge. The waste charge is set at cost recovery of what it costs Council. This year Council are dealing with much higher costs for recycling, higher gate fees to dispose of landfill and an increase in the State landfill levy. The notice has the State Landfill Levy and two charges related to the Fire Services Levy. For these charges Council are just a collection agent for State Government – the money does not go to Council.
In Keysborough South there is 20% open space rather than 5% open space – the 15% more is funded by the Keysborough South Maintenance Levy

  1. Even if you are only talking about the municipal rates, my increase is much more than 0.4%?

This is the average rate rise for the average property in the municipality whose valuation has gone up/down by the average amount. Property prices in different parts of the municipality rise by different amounts. On average, residential properties rose in value between 1 January 2019 and 1 January 2020 by 1.64%. If your property rose by more than this amount in value, your rates will be higher, if not they will be lower than the 0.4% increase.

  1. But my house price has gone down?

Firstly keep in mind two things…the valuation is assessed as at 1 January 2020. Any changes caused by the events of this year will be reflected in the valuations for 1 January 2021. Secondly, these valuations, whilst used by Council, are carried out by the Valuer-General and not Council. Council does not employ the valuers.
Whether valuations increase or decrease also does not impact on Councils overall rate income. Where valuations in total increase, Council lowers its rate in the dollar to make sure it doesn’t raise more rates than the rate cap. Similarly where there is decrease in valuations as may occur in 2020, Council will increase its rate in the dollar to comply with the rate cap. This is different to land taxes where the taxation rate is fixed.
Relative rises or drops matter, but absolute rising or falling valuations don’t impact on the total amount of rates Council raises. The total amount of municipal rates raised by Council is capped at 2% and the rate in the dollar is adjusted accordingly.

  1. The valuation is wrong

All properties are revalued every year by contract valuers employed by the Valuer General (not Council). Valuations are done as at 1 January in each year. If residents want to pursue an appeal there is information on this on the back of the rate notice or they can contact Council for further details. Again keep in mind we have no control or influence over valuations. If a valuation appeal is successful and lowers the valuation – your rates in the 20-21 year will be reduced. I can help you with those enquiries.

  1. That’s not a fair system #1 – why shouldn’t my rates go down 10% if my house price goes down 10%

If rates worked that way the Council budget would fluctuate wildly which would not enable stable service and infrastructure delivery. It was only a few years ago that over a two year period, residential valuations in Council rose by 26% – Council rates didn’t increase by that amount either and Council remained within the rate capped total.

  1. That’s not a fair system #2 – why isn’t the Council rate rise the same everywhere?

The the way that the State Government Legislation works unfortunately – out of control of Council.
But Council are delivering less services because of COVID-19?
Yes, but that other than reducing staff which is a short term solution causing a longer term problem, Council revenue is down because of unique factors like owning the Dandenong Market. We could reduce capital works but that will cause more unemployment not less and have a flow on effect to retail. Also, State Legislation prevents going into deficit. Many staff are being reassigned to our COVID-19 response which includes our material aid relief program.

  1. Having trouble paying your rates and/or what discounts are available?

The information on this is on this webpage.