John Comrie Port Augusta rate review

RATES: John Comrie presenting to the Port Augusta City Council on October 12.
RATES: John Comrie presenting to the Port Augusta City Council on October 12.

Changes need to be made to Port Augusta City Council’s rating system.

And there will be winners and losers, according to local government consultant John Comrie.

Speaking to council on October 12 at an informal gathering, Mr Comrie gave his first presentation to council about what options council have.

And according to Mr Comrie, the Port Augusta Council is ‘in the minority’ with using site values rather than capital values

“There might be good reasons to use them (site value), I’m not opposed to using site values, but generally speaking there are good reasons to look at capital values …,” he said.

And any switch to a capital value system means the end of site value rating system.

Mr Comrie said an ideal rating system should be ‘fair and equitable and less complicated as possible’.

And achieving an equitable system means considering rate payers’ capacity to pay.

“If everyone gets a relatively similar access to relatively similar services from an equity point of view, everyone should pay the same,” he said.

“But then we have to weigh up the capacity to pay …. (it’s) easier to find out capacity to pay with capital value.

“On average, but not always, over time, people who live in higher valued porperties, tend to have higher incomes.”

The next part would involve a fixed charge to rate payers. Mr Comrie said if the council’s minimum rate $1272 was scrapped for a minimum fixed charge, rate payments would be spread more evenly.

Port Augusta City Council Mayor Sam Johnson said this presentation to council is a ‘step in the right direction.

The report to the council will be presented before Christmas.