Council Rates – Updating your Revenue Strategy

July 15, 2020

Council finances are under pressure, and income from rates is a vital component of a good revenue strategy to:

  • Maximise the amount of rate income Council receives
  • Consolidate the long-term financial sustainability of the Council
  • Ensure that the rating burden is borne by those most able to pay
  • Balance some of the inequities resulting from rates based on land values
  • Meet changing community expectations and priorities
  • Fund community initiatives
  • Respond to local and statewide issues.

Why do Council Rates need review?

1. Economic impacts of Covid-19, droughts and bushfires

Councils have experienced a significant drop in revenue due to the economic impacts of Covid-19, and some are also still recovering from extraordinary circumstances due to drought and bushfires. Councils can plan to increase their rates for the next financial year in accordance with processes in their state associated with allowable increases.

2. Harmonisation across your rating structure

Benchmarking surrounding LGAs using comparative data may expose disparaties that Councils can address by adjusting the rating burden across their rating structures. Merged Councils may also be looking to rationalise the categories and subcategories across their areas.

3. Hardship provisions

Hardship provisions applied to Council rate collection can support vulnerable members of the community during difficult economic times.

How can we help?

Centium can:

  • Benchmark your rates compared to surrounding areas
  • Apply equity and efficiency principles to review your rating structure
  • Review your hardship provisions
  • Prepare a business case and conduct community consultation regarding rate increases
  • Assist Council to comply with changing state government rating policy
  • Update your revenue strategy to introduce a principles-based rating structure and a realistic implementation plan
  • Audit your Rates Management Framework, including controls over Privacy

Centium has extensive experience in assisting Councils with their revenue and rating strategy. Find out more here.

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