You, as a ratepayer often have questions about your rates notice and Tamworth Regional Council is keen to give you the answers.
If you don't get the answers you need here, we encourage you to call Council on 1300 733 625 and talk to our customer service team.
For more information on how your land is valued, read: 'Your land value - A brief guide to the land valuation process' from the NSW Valuer General. And "How are rates calculated" is also helpful.
Q: How are my general rates calculated?
By multiplying the land value, determined by the Valuer General, against the rate in the dollar which is made by Council and a base amount will also apply:
- Ad Valorem rate is calculated by multiplying the land value against the rate in the dollar
- Base amount – it is part of the Rate calculated on a property. A base amount/charge is a flat figure (eg: $150.00) which makes up part of the Rates for each property, the rest of the Rates for the assessment being calculated via land value. For example Residential property in Barraba Township – land value (LV) is 13,500. Calculation is – (LV @ c in $/100) + base amount [(13,500 @ 2.546256/100) + $150.00 = [$343.74 + $150.00] = $493.74
Base amounts cannot have a total yield of more than 50% of the yield of any category or sub-category. The use of Base Amount/Charges generally results a "flattening out” of individual rate accounts.
Q: Why is my rates bill more than last year?
A: Rates notices include the amount which is calculated using the land value plus annual charges such as sewerage charges, water supply charges and waste charges.
The NSW Minister for Local Government puts a limit on the increase to the Total General Rate income for all councils from one year to the next. This is known as rate pegging. The allowable increase for the 2012/2013 Rating Year is 14.6% which comprises of 3.6% rate peg and 11% Special Rate Variation (SRV).
Council made a formal application to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) for approval of a SRV in 2012/2013. It is Council’s intention to utilise the SRV to increase its total rate revenue to provide funding for an identified shortfall in the annual renewal of Council’s infrastructure assets (transport, buildings, stormwater, sports and entertainment venues and parks and garden infrastructure).
The limit on General Rate income rises applied to Residential Rates, Business Rates, Farmland Rates and Mining Rates only and not annual charges.
Q: What do I get for my rates?
A: Tamworth Regional Council provides many services to the community including but not limited to:
- Roads, bridges, footpaths and drainage
- Town Water
- Sewerage Services
- Waste collection and landfill facilities
- Libraries and Community Centres
- Swimming pools and hydrotherapy pools
- Parks, playgrounds and gardens
- Tourism promotion
- Cemeteries and columbariums
- Public halls and recreational reserves
- Planning and building services
- Caravan parks
- Tamworth Country Music Festival
- Aged care services
- Youth programs and child care
- Sporting fields and showgrounds
In many ways, it is a council’s activities that ensures acceptable lifestyles for its community. When we go out to eat, we expect the food to be fresh and the premises to be clean. We expect our sporting fields to be maintained and our libraries to be free to everyone. We expect planning controls – without which there would be nothing stopping a factory being built next door to us, for example.
The income council receives from rates are actually contributing to services which provide an acceptable standard of living.
Q: Why have my rates increased more than 14.6%?
The 14.6% limit on rises in General Rate income refers to the total income Council receives from Residential Rates, Business Rates, Farmland Rates and Mining Rates only. However, it is possible that an individual may find their rates may have increased by more than 14.6% - or even decreased – because of a change in the land value of their property. If your property has seen an increase in land value greater than the average, this will be reflected in a general rate rise.
The Land and Property Management Authority (formerly the Valuer General’s Office) perform a revaluation for Tamworth Regional Council every three years. A revaluation was completed in November 2010. The revaluation has been used for the first time for rating purposes in the 2011/2012 Rating Year.
Q: Have annual charges increased?
Annual charges such as sewerage charges, water supply charges and waste charges are not restricted by rate pegging and are not influenced by changes in land valuations. Increases for annual charges are attributable to:
- Repair and/or replacement of existing infrastructure and/or services
- Providing new infrastructure and/or services in 2012/2013
- Capital works programs
This year, the waste charges for Tamworth (Category 3) have increased from $259.00 to $268.00, water availability from $222.00 to $235.00 for a standard water connection and an $13.00 and no change in annual sewerage charges $716.00.
Q: What is the Waste Management Charge of $133.00?
This charge levied to contribute towards the costs of providing Waste Management Services to the whole of Tamworth Regional Council. The costs involved are the maintenance and upgrading of the Council’s waste transfer stations and landfills, licensing and monitoring of the transfer stations and landfills, waste education and management administration of all Council’s landfill sites. Council aims to provide a consistent level of service at all transfer stations and landfill sites to all ratepayers and users of these facilities.
Q: Do pensioners get rebates on their rates and water?
A: Yes, if the pensioner is eligible. Most eligible pensioners will have a current Pensioner Concession Card from either Centrelink or Veterans Affairs. The applicant MUST be solely or jointly liable for rates and charges and MUST occupy the dwelling as their sole or principal place of living.
The amount of mandatory rebate (Section 575) per property or assessment if currently:
- Ordinary rates (residential, business or farmland) and domestic waste combined – 50% of the total of these two items up to a maximum of $250.00 total rebate
- Water rates or charges – 50% of the water availability (rates) and water consumption charges up to a maximum of $87.50 total rebate
- Sewerage rates or charges – 50% of the annual sewerage charge to a maximum of $87.50.
Q: When are my rates due?
A: Rates are due by instalments on 31 August; 30 November; 28 February and 31 May of each year. If one of these dates falls on a weekend the due date will be set as the Monday after.
Council will send notices prior to the due dates. Should payment not be received for an instalment be the due date interest will accrue on a daily basis and recovery action may be taken.
Q: What happens if my rates payment is late?
A: Interest is charged on overdue rates payments of 10% per annum. The charging of interest on overdue payments is compulsory under Section 567 of the Local Government Act 1993. The interest rate is set by the Minister each year.
Q: Where can I pay my rates and water bills?
A: Methods of payment are listed on the back of all rates and water consumption notices. Apart from paying your rates in person at any of Council’s Customer Service agencies (in Barraba, Manilla, Nundle and Tamworth), you are able to pay by the following methods:
- This method allows Council to debit your bank/credit union/building society account on the due date for: the whole of your rate account, or each quarterly instalment due
- In person at any Post Office by cash or cheque only
- By telephone, (phone 13 18 16) from: Savings accounts, Cheque accounts or Credit card accounts (surcharge will apply)
- By internet go to www.postbillpay.com.au, Savings accounts, Cheque accounts, Credit card accounts (surcharge will apply)
- Contact your participating bank/credit union/building society by touch-tone telephone, operators, PC’s or Internet Bank Services
- Quote your Biller Code, Customer Reference Number, amount you wish to pay and the savings or cheque account only from which the payment will be made
- Rates Biller Code - 4457
- Water Biller Code – 4473
Pay by Phone
- To pay by phone simply have your Bankcard, Mastercard or Visa card and notice available
- Phone 13 18 16 and follow the promotes
- In person at any agency by; cash, cheque, eftpos – debit card or credit card accounts (surcharge will apply)
Q: What happens if my rates payment is late?
A: Interest is charged on overdue rates payments of 11% per annum. The charging of interest on overdue payments is compulsory under Section 567 of the Local Government Act 1993. The interest rate is set by the Minister each year.
Q: I'm having difficulty paying my rates, what should I do?
A: Contact Council’s Debt Recovery Officer as soon as possible on 1300 733 625 to organise an arrangement to pay. Rates and charges may be paid outside the instalment dates subject to terms and conditions as set by Council (Section 564).
Q. I’m currently experiencing financial hardship, what help is available?
Council recognises there are cases of genuine financial hardship requiring respect and compassion. Council has a ‘Ratepayers Hardship Policy’ which provides guidelines for the assessment of hardship applications. If you cannot pay your rates by the dates required then please contact Council’s Debt Recovery Officer on 1300 733 625 to discuss alternate payment arrangements.
For further information, see the Hardship Rate Relief Policy and Hardship Rate Relief Application Form.
Q: Is there a surcharge if I pay by credit card?
A: Council introduced a surcharge on payments received by credit card in the 2005/2006 rating year.
Q: What should I do if my address has changed?
A: Council must be advised of changes of address in writing. A form is available from the Customer Service Centres for you to complete or you may wish to write a letter.
Q: I want my water bill to go to a different address, is that possible?
A: Yes, however this request must be in writing. A form is available from the Customer Service Centres or you may write a letter to Council explain what you wish.
Photo: Amos Fenn at Botanic Gardens.