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Rates Frequently Asked Questions

Council's general rates frequently asked questions are listed below.

Note that further rates subject specific FAQs are located on the webpages - Land Valuations, How Rates are Calculated,  and Hardship Assistance.

For further information, please contact Customer Service on 9330 6400 or mail@georgesriver.nsw.gov.au

  • Can Council reduce or waive fees?

    As rates are secured against the land, Council is legally unable to reduce or waive the value of rates. Under the legislation Council can waive interest or late fees when customers enter into payment arrangements.

    Council encourages all ratepayers to meet their rate commitments as they are due.

    If you are experiencing financial difficulties in paying your rates, Council may be able to assist. Visit our Hardship Assistance page for further information. 

  • What if I am having difficulty paying my rates on time?

    We encourage ratepayers to pay their rates before the due date.

    We understand there may be circumstances where a ratepayer is experiencing genuine financial hardship and our guidelines for the assessment of hardship applications are outlined in our Debt Management and Hardship Policy. Visit the Hardship Assistance webpage to find out more about available options such as payment extensions and payment plans.

    If you're trying to do the right thing, we're committed to understanding your situation and helping you where possible.

  • Are there any additional charges incurred for late payment?

    Late rate payments and unpaid rates generally attract an interest charge. Interest on an instalment is calculated after the instalment is due and payable. Interest is applied on a daily basis which means a late payment of an instalment can attract interest calculated over several months.

    The longer an instalment remains outstanding the more interest will be charged.

  • How do I apply for financial assistance?

    Visit Council's Hardship assistance page for information on financial assistance and available payment arrangements.

    You must complete and submit a Hardship Assistance – Payment Arrangement form along with any supporting documentation. 

    This will show us that you're aware of your obligations and doing your best to meet them. Council may agree to write off interest charges accrued during the period of the payment arrangement. 

  • Why do I have to pay rates?

    Council plays an essential role in keeping the local community running smoothly and takes that responsibility seriously. We are obligated to plan responsibly and maintain robust business continuity plans to ensure our City keeps operating and residents continue to receive core services including community services, sporting and recreation services, environmental planning, public health, environmental protection and waste collection, treatment and disposal.

    Council is legally required to levy rates (under the Local Government Act 1993). Rates income is vital for the delivery of these important community services, future planning and infrastructure maintenance and development.

    A full list of capital works planned for the year and where our priority spend areas are can be found in Council’s Delivery Program and Operational Plan.

  • What services do my Council rates pay for?
    The Council provides many services including:
    • Libraries
    • Child, youth, family, seniors and aged services
    • Community centres and sporting facilities
    • Weekly collection of waste and recyclables, waste management and disposal
    • Maintenance and upgrading of roads, drainage and footpaths
    • Spot landscaping and beautification
    • Land use planning and regulation
    • Building licensing, regulation and advice
    • Provision and management of beautiful parks, reserves, sporting facilities and ovals 
    • Management of beaches and beach reserves
    • Management of lakes and nature reserves
    • Free family concerts and events
    • Generous community grants and donations programs
    • Health services for the regulation and inspection of food premises, dust and noise monitoring to protect and improve community amenities, and management of contaminated sites
    • Provision of public art
    The 2020-2021 budget continues to delivering upon Council’s Financial Strategy of low rate increases, controlled cost increases and reducing costs (where able to) through either procurement strategies or productivity and efficiencies measures. These all contribute to the end goal of providing value for money to our ratepayers. The rates increase of 2.6% is in line with the rate peg. This will allow Council to deliver services and facilities that consistently meet or exceed the expectations of the community.

    Every four years, following extensive consultation with our community, Council adopts its Community Strategic Plan which details the community’s aspirations for the Georges River area for the next 10 years. The Community Strategic Plan can be viewed here. This Plan highlights many community projects, programs, initiatives and events that require substantial funding to become a reality.  These projects and programs are then outlined in the Delivery Program 2018/19 to 2020/21 and Operational Plan 2019/20 which can be viewed here.

    The final decision to approve projects rests with the elected Council. Council meetings are open to the public and can be live streamed.
  • Is anyone exempt from paying rates and charges?

    Some parcels of land are exempt from rates and charges, including land within a national park or land that belongs to a school or religious group. Unless you meet the exemption criteria outlined in the Local Government Act 1993, you are not exempt from paying rates.

    Certain land is exempt from rating and is referred to as 'non-rateable'. In order to be eligible for a land rate exemption, land must belong to an organisation related to the purposes and be used in accordance with one of the following categories as defined by the Local Government Act 1993, generally they include:

    • churches

    • Minister's residences

    • schools

    • public land

    • hospitals

    • land owned and used by public charities

    • other land as provided in the provisions of the section 555 of The Local Government Act 1993

    You may apply to have your property exempt from rating, or appeal our decision, in the Land and Environment Court. Further information regarding non-rateable land may be obtained by contacting Council on 02 9330 6400.

  • How are my rates calculated?

    Visit Council's How rates are calculated page for information.

  • How does Council decide how much you have to pay in Rates and Charges?

    Each Council is required to determine the combination of rates, charges, fees and pricing policies needed to fund the services it provides to the community. This is called a Revenue Policy (available within the Delivery Program and Operational Plan). The Revenue Policy contains a rating structure that determines which rates and charges you will have to pay and how they will be calculated. Charges are generally determined on an annual basis (1 July to 30 June the following year).

  • If I pay strata fees, do I still pay rates to Council?

    Yes, Council rates are separate from strata or owner corporation (body corporate) fees. Council rates must be paid directly to Council. To pay your Council Rates and Charges, visit Pay my rates.

  • What are the types of Rates and Charges?

    There are two types of rates levied by council: ordinary rates and charges.

    Ordinary Rates

    Ordinary rates (also referred to as Rates) are used to provide essential services such as the road network, street lighting, street cleaning, footpaths, parks, sport and recreation facilities, environmental planning and conservation, city rangers, pest control, libraries, town planning and building control, community services, and much more.

    It is mandatory for Council to make and levy an ordinary rate for each year on all rateable land in its area. Ordinary rates are made up of a variable rate based on the land value of individual properties in proportion to the total value of all land in the Local Government Area.

    The type of Ordinary Rate depends on the rating category (or sub-category) applied to your property.

    For Residential Categories, the Ordinary Rate is calculated using a rate per dollar multiplied by the property's land valuation (a minimum rate applies).

    For Business Categories (or sub-category) - The Ordinary Rate is calculated using a rate per dollar multiplied by the property's land valuation (a minimum rate applies).

    Visit Council's page on How rates are calculated for more information. 

    Charges

    Charges are levied according to the service being provided. Council determines the cost of providing services such as domestic waste management and stormwater management and simply divides this by the number of account holders that will benefit from the service.

    • Domestic Waste Management: The Local Government Act 1993 requires councils to levy an annual charge for domestic waste management services on all parcels of rateable land for which the service is available, whether or not it is actually used. All property owners should contribute to the current and future provision of waste services. Charges for this service include the supply of waste, recycling and green waste collection bins, collection and disposal costs. Also included in this annual charge are other costs such as the bi-annual household clean-up kerbside collection service and education programs conducted by Council. Vacant residential land is charged a vacant land charge. These charges are applied on a cost recovery basis.

    • Stormwater Management Charge: This contributes to the cost of providing new or additional stormwater services across the local area. These activities may include:

      • stormwater pollution prevention,
      • flood mitigation,
      • rainwater and stormwater harvesting,
      • community education programs and stormwater drainage systems operations and maintenance.

    The maximum amount that a council can charge is $25 for an average residential block, and the charge can only be levied on properties where council provides a stormwater management service.​

    The yearly charge for residential landowners is $25 while strata unit owners pay $12.50.

    Business land owners pay $25 for each 350sqm or part of 350sqm, up to a maximum of $1,500. Business strata units pay $5 or $25 per 350sqm (or part thereof) of land area that would apply to the land subject to the strata scheme divided on a pro-rata basis between the lots, not less that $5 for any individual lot.

    Certain land may be exempt from the charge, such as Crown land, rural land, vacant land containing no impervious surfaces, and land belonging to charities and public benevolent institutions.

    Council levies other charges for additional services such as additional waste collection bins.

  • What is a minimum rate?

    These are a specific type of rate, where a minimum amount is levied on each parcel of land, regardless of land value.

  • Can I request Council review my interest and legal charges?

    You can request a review of the interest or legal charges if you believe an error caused by Council contributed to the charges.

    A request to review charges must be in writing to Council. You will need to provide supporting documentation where possible to support your claims that an error caused by Council contributed to the charges.

    Property owners should be aware that rates are payable on a quarterly basis. It is the owners responsibility to ensure Council has the correct address for the service of the rates notice.

    Requests due to oversight, being unaware or not receiving the rates notices will result in your request being unsuccessful.

  • What are postponed rates?

    If you have a single dwelling on land that could be subdivided or developed, the rateable value of your land may be more than is usual for a single dwelling. If this is the case, you may be able to postpone part of your rates.

    Postponing your rates will result in you paying less rates until you sell or develop the land when you must pay the postponed amount (including some postponed interest charges).

    This provision is usually used for 'asset rich and cash poor' owners who choose to continue to use and occupy their land after the land has been rezoned but can’t afford the high holding costs that come about due to increases in the land values. By postponing your rates, you can pay the postponed rates when you realise the value of the land when it is sold or developed. Where the land is held for longer than five years, some of the postponed rates are written off by Council so at any time you are only liable to pay a maximum of five years postponed rates and interest. This is particularly beneficial if you intend to hold the land for longer than five years.

    To assess how much you will need to pay, the land is given two values, with one being the value of the land if it were only zoned for residential use, and the full land value according to its zoned uses. Council will postpone the rates differences between the values and you will only need to pay the rates on the lower value. After five years and each year after that, unless the land has been vacated or developed, Council writes off one year of the postponed rates from five years prior so at any time you are only liable to pay a maximum of five years of postponed rates when the land is developed or sold.

    You should seek your own independent advice to see if this suits your circumstances before making any decision.

    If you believe that you may be eligible and wish to discuss your situation, please contact Council on 02 9330 6400 to receive information on how to begin an application.

  • Does Council offer discounts on rates for pensioners?

    Council offers rebates and concessions for eligible pensioners who own and occupy a rateable property. Visit Council’s Rebates for Pensioners page for more information and how to apply. Visit our Rebates for Pensioners page for more information

  • What changes have been made to Council hardship provisions for eligible pensioners?

    Under NSW legislation, Council provides a mandatory pensioner rebate up to $250 per annum, at a cost of $1 million per year.
     
    Last year Council provided an additional voluntary pensioner rebate up to $150 per annum. This rebate will not be available this year as Council supports the broader Georges River community with the Social and Economic Recovery Program.
     
    Council has expanded the options available to pensioners under its Debt Management and Hardship Policy in recognition of the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the community.

    Changes to the policy include the option to pay Council rates in monthly instalments at no additional cost. Pensioners can also apply to defer rate payments until the sale of their properties, without being charged additional interest.

    For more information visit Council’s Rebates for pensioners page or call 9330 6400

 



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