Council’s rates are influenced by many factors including increases in the cost of providing services, proposed capital works and increases in service levels or other Council initiatives. Council also considers statistical indicators such as the Consumer Price Index and the Local Government Cost Index.
Council consciously aims to keep the increase in rates to a minimum in order to lessen any impact on ratepayers but at the same time generate enough income to provide adequate levels of service and achieve its objectives.
Rates at a glance
Your rates provide Council with the revenue needed to manage all the services and facilities which make the Shire a vibrant and attractive region to live in. Each financial year a new budget is prepared to support current - and plan for the future - needs of the entire community.
Rates are issued by the Shire each financial year. Your rates notice will be mailed to you in August following the budget adoption process.
Shire rates are levied on the values of the rateable properties provided by the Valuer General Office. GRV (Gross Rental Value) is applied to urban properties and these values are re-assessed every 5 years. GRV means the gross annual rental that the land might reasonably be expected to realise if let on a tenancy from year to year. A GRV is determined on the basis that the rental includes outgoings such as rates and other property expenses.
UV (Unimproved Values) are used as the basis for the levy of rates for rural properties. UV properties are revalued every year. Market based UVs are determined by reference to the land market at the date of valuation.
Council sets a "rate in the dollar" for each differential rate such as residential, commercial or rural. The rate is calculated to ensure that sufficient income is received to enable continued service delivery to our community.
Your annual rates are calculated by multiplying your GRV or UV value by your applicable "rate in the dollar" taking into consideration the minimum rate.
How to Pay Your Rates
Options available for paying your rates
The Shire offers two options for the payment of rates -
Option 1: Payment in full by the due date
Option 2: Payment by four instalments
Rates can be paid by:
- Mail - please include the payment slip at the bottom of your rates form
- BPAY - information found in the bottom section of your rates form
- In person at the Administration office - please bring rates notice when paying in person
- Online - Click here to access the online payments
- Direct Debit - A Direct Debit form needs to be completed and returned to the Shire
- By phone 1300 276 468, please have your rates notice nearby when calling
What is Direct Debit?
Direct debit is a system by which weekly, fortnightly or monthly payments are taken directly from your bank account. Once set up the payment automatically comes out of your account at the right time. Direct Debit is quick, safe and easy and spreads your payments evenly over the period. There are no fees associated with Direct Debit payments. A Direct Debit can be set up by filling in this form or by calling the Rates Department on (08) 9071 0657.
Pensioner or Senior Rebates
To receive a concession a person must hold one or more of the appropriate Pensioner or Seniors cards and on July 1 of the financial year own and occupy residential property as their principal place of residence.
To ensure you are registered for a rebate for your rates please call the Water Corporation on 1300 659 951 and quote your concession card details. They will then update your details with the Shire. Remember to have your Water Corporation account number ready when you call.
How is my rubbish rates charge made up?
Your rubbish rates charge reflects the costs of collecting your general refuse and recycling bin and the associated disposal charges. This charge can differ depending on the bin configuration you have chosen. Contact us on (08) 9071 0676 to change your bin sizes.
Waste charges have increased due to the rising costs of waste disposal. Waste destined for landfill incurs the greatest cost. Separating recyclable and recoverable items from other waste, before arriving at the tip, reduces waste fees payable at the Wylie Bay Waste Facility.
What is the Waste Rate for?
The Shire of Esperance Wylie Bay Waste Facility must close by August 2019. The approximate cost to achieve this, including the capping and rehabilitation of the site, is $9 million. A new landfill must be operational within this timeframe and is expected to cost in the vicinity of $6.32 million. Current expectations are that the site will be some distance from town and therefore a transfer station will need to be established at the existing Wylie Bay facilty at a projected cost of $1 million. The waste rate has been introduced to begin funding this essential service. The Council and Shire are also actively pursuing additional funding from both State and Federal governments.
What do you do with the Emergency Services Levy?
The Shire is required to collect the Emergency Services Levy (ESL) on behalf of the State Government which uses the proceeds to fund a range of emergency services organisations including local bush fire brigades within the Shire of Esperance. If you wish to discuss this charge contact the Department of Fire and Emergency Services. Visit www.dfes.wa.gov.au for further information.
What do my Rates pay for?
Your rates contribute toward the services provided by the Shire including but not limited to:
- Assistance to community groups
- Bay of Isles Leisure Centre
- Building control
- Bush fire control
- Civic Centre
- Community information
- Dog and other animal control
- Coastal Infrastructure
- Economic development support
- Emergency services support
- Environmental planning
- Esperance Public Library
- Health control
- Litter control
- Off road vehicle control
- Parks, reserves and playgrounds
- Recreational and cultural planning and development
- Recreational facilities
- Road construction and maintenance
- Seniors, youth and disability support
- Storm water drainage
- Street lighting and street trees
- Waste Management
Change of Address
It is the ratepayers responsibility to keep the Shire of Esperance informed of your current address and contact details.
Your address can be updated by filling in this form and returning it to the Shire Administration Building on Windich Street or by calling our Rates Department on (08) 9071 0657.
Frequently Asked Questions About Your Rates
If you have a query with your property valuation or wish to object to a valuation given by the Valuer General’s Office, contact the Property and Valuations office at Landgate. Many enquiries can be resolved over the telephone without the need to lodge a formal objection. Should you wish to make a formal objection an "Objection to Valuation" form can be obtained from the Landgate website.
What are Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs)?
The Financial Assistance Grant Program funding is recurring funding that is received by local governments each year. The funding is provided under the Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1995. It consists of two components; a general purpose component that is distributed between the states according to population and an identified local road component. The Shire of Esperance receives a higher amount than some other local governments mainly because we have the longest road network in WA. The general purpose funds will contribute to the provision of community services and infrastructure. The funding has been allocated in accordance with the Shire of Esperance financial plans and budget.
If I calculate my rates I get a much lower amount than you are charging me. Why?
You are being charged what is known as the ‘minimum rate’. This is a rate set by Council to reflect what is considered to be a reasonable contribution to the cost of Shire services and management.
If your Gross Rental Value multiplied by the Shire’s rate in the dollar means that your rates are less than the set minimum, then the set minimum is charged.
Do Differential Rates affect me?
The Local Government Act allows for differential rates to be applied to overcome an issue where the land use within the rating category is completely different and therefore valuations are significantly different. To ensure equity with the rating system a differential rate for those properties used predominantly for mining purposes within the UV category has been applied. This is due to the additional financial impacts to the Shire including the higher road infrastructure maintenance costs as a result of frequent heavy vehicle use.
If you own property in the Commercial/Industry category a differential rate has been applied that is 4% higher than the uniform GRV rate (predominately residential properties).
The uniform UV rate has been increased higher than the GRV category as additional money is required to be spent on the rural road network to maintain it to a serviceable standard in to the future. The Shire maintains over 4,500kms of road network.
Why don’t you save more by cutting costs instead of putting up the rates?
The Shire is always looking for reductions and efficiencies to both its operating and capital budgets. Operating cost increases have been held to an absolute minimum and the Shire is working towards reducing our current asset management gap. There is a point at which operational standards fall below a level which would be acceptable to the community. For example, the Shire is already under community pressure to raise some of its day-to-day operational levels of service with respect to public open space, sporting and community facilities and roads. The increased costs of utility services and other materials experienced by the ratepayer have also had a significant impact on shire costs.
In May 2014 Council endorsed a Revenue Strategy, this strategy will assist the Shire of Esperance in developing longer term revenue streams and ensuring rating and fees are being set in a consistent and clear manner.
Why doesn't the Shire reduce staff to cut costs?
Reducing staff numbers does not change the Shire’s legislative, statutory or service level obligations to the community. It is these obligations and service levels which dictate the costs rather than the number of staff that are employed. Staff numbers are a result of needing to comply with these obligations or service levels. The Shire may provide services via contractors or some other form of procurement but this will not necessarily reduce the cost, therefore the Shire is always looking at more efficient ways to meet its service obligations. If the community will be satisfied to receive a lower level of service or the statutory obligations for a local government are reduced then staff levels will be adjusted over time in line with these requirements.
How does this increase affect me if I am a pensioner/senior?
If you are eligible then a rebate will apply to any increase in rates and ESL levy. It does not apply to the refuse charge.
If you are uncertain about your eligibility or need to apply for a rebate contact the Shire on (08) 9071 0666 or the Water Corporation on 1300 659 951 or download an application form.
Why do I pay so much in rates for vacant land when I don’t receive any services?
All land is subject to the application of rates including the Waste Rate. Vacant land is also valued differently by the Valuer General (VGO). Rates are based on an assessment of the annual rental value of a property (known as Gross Rental Value (GRV) and is the responsibility of the VGO: a State Government agency). It is then multiplied by a rate in the dollar (the Shire’s responsibility) to provide the actual rates on a property. Vacant land does not have rental potential so the VGO calculates a synthetic rental value by using 3% of the market value of land.
What does GRV and UV mean?
Shire rates are levied on the values of the rateable properties provided by the Valuer General Office. GRV or Gross Rental Value is applied to urban properties and these values are re-assessed every 5 years. GRV means the gross annual rental that the land might reasonably be expected to realise if let on a tenancy from year to year. A GRV is determined on the basis that the rental includes outgoings such as rates and other property expenses.
UV or Unimproved Values are used as the basis for the levy of rates for rural properties. UV properties are revalued every year. Market based UV’s are determined by reference to the land market at the date of valuation.
What if I don’t agree with my GRV or UV value?
- The Valuation of Land Act Part IV sets out the manner in which objections and appeals may be made regarding valuations. Objections must be lodged with the Valuer General, PO Box 2222, Midland WA 6936 within 60 days from the issue date of the Rate Notice.
I've lodged an objection to my rates and have received a final notice. Do I have to pay?
Yes, rates must be paid as assessed by the due date. Any reduction in rates as a result of a successful objection will be refunded. If you do not make payment in full you will accrue interest on general rates and on Emergency Services Levy.
What happens to my rates if I build a new house, an addition or a pool?
When there are changes to your property that affect its valuation the Shire receives advice of the new valuation (and an effective date for the new valuation) from the Valuer General. An amended rates notice, called an interim rates notice, is then issued. An interim rates notice does not replace the original rates notice but is an additional charge therefore the total due on both needs to be paid.
Examples of where your valuation would be amended include:
- a new building has been built
- a pool has been installed
- a new room has been added
- a property has been demolished