An explanation of Rates & Charges

Council adopted the 2016/2017 Budget on 1 July 2016, including the Rates and Charges for 2016/2017. The following information on the 2016/2017 Rates and Charges is provided to ratepayers to assist them to understand their Rates and Charges.

Issue Date of Rate Notice

The half-yearly Rate Notices, for the period 1 July 2016 to 31 December 2016, was issued on 29 July 2016.

When is payment due?

The due date for payment, which is stated on the Rate Notice, is Wednesday 31 August 2016. This complies with Council's Budget resolution which states that discount will be given if payment is made by the Due Date stated on the Rate Notice which is at least 30 clear days from the Issue Date of the Rate Notice.

Council now accepts a variety of payment methods, including online, BPay and Direct Debit payments.

Notes on the Rate Notice

Council has included the following notes on the Rate Notices:

  • A note informing ratepayers that if they made a payment towards their rates after 20 July 2016 (when the rates billing data was run) it will not appear on this Notice.
  • A note advising ratepayers who pay by half-yearly direct debit that a deduction of the net amount after discount will automatically be made from their nominated bank account on the due date. This prevents ratepayers being concerned that their direct debit will not be deducted.
Will ratepayers receive anything with their Rate Notice?

With Rate Notices, ratepayers will receive:

Water Advice Notices

The Queensland Government's Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act 2008 requires Council to provide ratepayers and water consumers with meaningful information about how their water usage compares with other customers and how to better manage their water use. To achieve this Council is required to send each householder a Water Advice Notice. Tenants do not receive a Water Advice Notice.

How much did Rates and Charges increase by?

The following is a summary of the 2016/2017 Rates and Charges for an average urban residential property:

General Rates & Services
2016/2017
2015/2016
$ Increase 2015/2016 to 2016/2017
% Increase 2015/2016 to 2016/2017
Weekly $ Increase 2015/2016 to 2016/2017
General Rates
$1,287.95 $1,232.04 $55.91 4.54% $1.08
Sewerage $705.00 $678.00 $27.00 3.98% $0.52
Waste Collection
$335.00 $325.00 $10.00 3.08% $0.19
Water Access
$412.00 $408.00 $4.00 0.98% $0.08
Water Consumption
$286.20 $279.22 $6.98 2.50% $0.13
State Emergency Management Levy
$203.20 $196.40 $6.80 3.46% $0.13
Total levy before deductions $3,229.35 $3,118.66 $110.69 3.55% $2.13
Less: State Pensioner Remission $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 0% $0.00
Less: Council Pensioner Rebate
$0.00 $0.00 $0.00
0% $0.00
Less: 10% Discount
$128.80 $123.20 $5.59 4.54% $0.11
Total levy after deductions $3,100.56 $2,995.46 $105.10 3.50% $2.02
Increase in Water Consumption Charges

Water consumption charges will increase in 2016/2017 as indicated below however the increased charges will only appear on Rate Notices for the first time in February 2017 as water consumption charges are billed in arrears.

Water meter readings taken between 1 July and 31 December 2016, that is after the increased charges were applied from 1 July 2016, will be billed in February 2017.

Council currently has a two-part water tariff where the first 150 kilolitres of water used by a ratepayer each half-year will be charged at a lower rate of $1.15 per kilolitre, and all water consumption above 150 kilolitres will be charged at a higher rate of $1.88 per kilolitre. The higher unit charge for greater water use was implemented to encourage the responsible use of water, and to conserve this valuable community resource.

A comparison between the 2016/2017 and 2015/2016 charges is shown below.

Service 2016/2017 2015/2016
Increase
First step up to 150 kilolitres per half-year
$1.15 $1.12 $0.03 2.68%
Second step over 150 kilolitres per half-year
$1.88 $1.84 $0.04 2.17%
Why was it necessary to increase General Rates and Charges this year?

Rates increases were necessary this year due to significant development in the Region, the loss of revenue, and increasing suppliers charges as follows:

  1. Large projects such as the Rubyanna Wastewater Treatment Plant and the Multi-purpose Sports and Community Centre, and many smaller projects and repairs and maintenance resulted in the need for additional finance.
  2. The State Government's withdrawal of subsidies from Council some years ago continues to have a significant impact on Council’s finances. A good example of this is the withdrawal of the 40% infrastructure subsidy which would have provided $28.4 Million towards the $71 Million Rubyanna Treatment Plant, which would have significantly reduced the cost to Council and the need to increase Sewerage Charges and General Rates.
  3. Council's suppliers continue to increase their charges, such as fuel and electricity costs, which impacts on Council's expenditure.
Why do rates increase by more or less than the average 3.5% rates increase? 

The above in ‘How much did Rates and Charges increase by’ table shows that the rates increase for an average property in an urban area is 3.5% as announced in the media. However it’s important to note that every ratepayer is different and individual total rates increases will depend on the mix of General Rates and Service Charges which ratepayers pay. To illustrate this clearly, consider a ratepayer who is on a Minimum General Rate of $994 but uses $1,000 of water. General Rates increased by 4.54% but the Water Access Charge only increased by 0.98% and the Water Consumption Charge increased by 2.68% for the first 150 kilolitres of water used and by 2.17% for all water consumption above 150 kilolitres. Therefore that ratepayer’s rates would increase by 2.77% and not by 3.5% as illustrated in the following table:

Charge
2016/2017
2015/2016
Increase
% Increase
Minimum General Rate  $994.00  $951.00  $43.00  $4.52%
Water Access Charge
 $412.00  $408.00  $4.00  0.98%
Water Consumption Charge  $1,770.50  $1,732.00  $38.50  2.22%
Total
 $3,176.50  $3,091.00  $85.50  2.77%

The following analysis of rates increases this year shows that 37,223 ratepayers (83.83% of the total of 44,401) will get a total rates increase of between 3% and 4%. 42,686 (96.14%) will get a total rates increase of less than 5%. Ratepayers will get an increase above 5% where they are in rural areas and have no service charges and therefore they get the full 4.54% increase in General Rates, undiluted with the smaller increase in service charges, and where their pensioner rebates remained unchanged and therefore form a smaller % reduction in total rates. As noted above, ratepayers will get an increase of less than 3% where their water consumption charges and other service charges form a large part of their total rates, as service charges such as water, waste and sewerage charges, increased by less than the 4.54% increase in General Rates.

Higher Water Access Charges for ratepayers with larger meters

Most residential ratepayers have a 20mm water meter linked to a 20mm pipe which supplies sufficient water for normal household needs. However larger water users such as commerce, industry and multi-unit properties require larger meters and larger pipes to supply their water needs.

Some years ago, the Queensland State Government recommended that those larger users should pay Water Access Charges in proportion to the size of their water meter/pipe, which reflects their increased water requirements. Most councils in Queensland adopted 100% of the Government’s recommendations, and those councils were charging up to ten times what Bundaberg was charging for water access.

Bundaberg Regional Council was concerned about the effect these increased charges may have on larger users and therefore decided to adopt 80% of the recommended charges and also decided to phase these in over 5 years for meter sizes 40mm to 150mm and over 3 years for 25mm and 32mm meters.

These increases are quite substantial, but 2016/2017 is the third and final year of phase-in for the 25mm and 32mm meter Water Access Charges. The phase-in of the 40mm to 150mm Access Charges will continue for the next two years.

What is the Trade Waste Utility Charge?
Council has introduced a Trade Waste Utility Charge which will fund Council's monitoring and mitigation of toxic trade waste discharged into Council's sewers. The level of the Trade Waste charge will depend on the volume of waste discharged and on its toxicity as illustrated in the table below. 355 ratepayers have a single trade waste device and 6 ratepayers have multiple devices, the total being 383. This charge was to be phased-in to reach full cost recovery in five years, but on 24 February 2015 Council decided to postpone the phase-in for one year and instead apply a 5% increase, which has been applied. Council also introduced a new charge, effective 1 July 2015, for minor trade waste discharge under 150 Kilolitres. The charge for the 2016/2017 year is $158 per year.

Trade Waste Connection/Capacity of Pre-treatment Device

Category 0 Minor <=150Kls

Category 1

(Low Strength/Low Volume

<=500 Kilolitres Per Financial Year)

Category 2

(Low Strength/High Volume

>500 Kilolitres Per Financial Year)

Category 3

(High Strength/Any Volume

Per Financial Year)

Nil required or best practice
$158
 N/A N/A  N/A

Best Practice <= 1000 litres

N/A

$276 per year

$551 per year

$827 per year

<=1000 Litres

N/A

$551 per year

$827 per year

$1,103 per year

<=1500 Litres


N/A

$827 per year

$1,103 per year

$1,381 per year

<=2000 Litres

N/A

$1,103 per year

$1,381 per year

$1,654 per year

<=2500 Litres

N/A

$1,381 per year

$1,654 per year

$1,932 per year

<=3000 Litres

N/A

$1,654 per year

$1,932 per year

$2,205 per year

What are the major expenditure items in this year's budget?

Council's 2016/2017 budget includes $123 million to fund the vital infrastructure which will promote long term sustainability and growth opportunities for the region. The major expenditure items are as follows:

Project/Expenditure Details
Cost
Rubyanna Wastewater Treatment Plant ($71 million project)
$38.25 million
Roads construction and maintenance including region-wide resurfacing and resealing, Eggmolesse Street construction, Kay McDuff Drive extension, Winfield Road widening,  Presslers Road widening, Wonbah Road,  Scotland and Eastgate Streets, Walla and George Streets, Moore Street, Wawoon Road, Martins Road,  Church Street, Voss Road, Various creek crossing improvements.
$20 million
Completion of Stage 1 of the Multi-purpose Sports and Community Centre ($32 million total project).
$10 million
Drainage projects including Thabeban drainage, Langbeckers Road, Stage 8 of Port Drainage, One Mile Road, Aquarius Drive, Clayton Road, Tara Street and Reid Crescent, Sharon Road.
$4 million
Replacement of Council's core IT system (Stage 1).
$4 million
Monduran bridge construction.
$3 million
Pathway projects including multi-modal and safety pathway improvements, Moore Park Road to Murdochs Road, Baldwin Swamp cycle/path improvements, Causeway Drive, Crescent Street, -  Hughes Road, Avoca Street, pathways for schools.
$2 million
New Animal Pound facility. $1.8 million
Parks including Hummock lookout improvements, Christsen Park (the ‘Basin’), Bargara foreshore, Woodgate foreshore hub, ANZAC Park improvements, Botanical Gardens upgrades.
$1.5 million
Woodgate vacuum sewer extension.
$1.3 million
Water treatment plant improvements for Gin Gin plant, Kalkie plant, and Childers plant investigations.  $1 million
Water and Wastewater mains and pipel upgrades, as they are identified.
 
CCTV upgrades as grant funding becomes available.
 
What do ratepayers receive for their General Rates?
Roadworks, including:
  • Construction of new roads
  • Sealing of raods
  • Bridge construction
  • Mowing road reserves
  • Road Drainage
  • Maintenance of gravel roads
  • Bikeways

Planning Services - Advice/control

Environment Program, including environmental monitoring/licensing and education

Public Order and Safety (Local Laws and Licensing)

Public Health Program, including:

  • Mosquito, weed, animal, stock and vermin control
  • Community health promotion

Roadside/Street futrniture, including:

  • Bus shelters
  • Street/roadside signage
  • Seats/benches
  • Rubbish bins

Street Lighting, including maintenance/new lighting and lighting for safety. 

Community Facilites (Halls etc)

Community Service Programmes, including:

  • Community and major events
  • Youth and community development

Parks and Gardens, including:

  • Maintenance
  • Drainage maintenance
  • Development of new parks
  • Tree planting
  • Beautification
  • Barbeques and park furntire
  • Shelters
  • Playground equipment

Sports and Recreation Facilities

Libraries and Art Galleries

Bundaberg Regional Airport

Public toilets

General drainage

Building services - Advice/control

How are General Rates calculated?

General Rates pay for most of what Council provides, except for the supply of Water, the treatment and disposal of Sewage and the collection and disposal of Waste, which are separately financed. In terms of the Local Government Act 2009, General Rates must be calculated by Council based on the Government Value of each rateable property, which is the value assigned to a property by the State Government Department of Natural Resources and Mines. The amount of General Rates which a particular property is required to pay is calculated by multiplying a property's Government Valuation by a ‘Rate-in-the-dollar'. The Rate-in-the-dollar is calculated by dividing the total amount of Rates revenue that Council requires by the total value of all rateable land.

For example, if there were only two rateable properties with values of $90,000 and $100,000, and if Council needed to collect say $2,000 in rates to provide them with general services, Council would calculate the rate-in-the-dollar by dividing the total amount it needed to collect ($2,000) by the total valuation of the properties ($190,000). So the rate-in-the-dollar in this example would be $2,000/$190,000 = 0.01053 cents in the dollar.

The amount of General Rates that each property owner would need to pay in this example would be calculated as follows:

Property Value Rate in the dollar
Rates payable
 $100,000 x
 0.01053  = $1,053
 $90,000 x
 0.01053  = $947
   Total Income =
 = $2,000

In simple terms a ratepayer pays 'their share' of the income needed by Council based on the proportion of their property's valuation to the total valuation of all properties.

What are Minimum General Rates and why are they necessary?

As noted above, the Local Government Act prescribes that General Rates must be calculated by multiplying a property's Government Valuation by a rate-in-the-dollar. However the Act also provides for councils to charge all ratepayers a minimum amount which recognises that ratepayers have an equal opportunity to enjoy the facilities and services provided by Council, which are financed from General Rates. If General Rates were only based on a property's valuation, ratepayers with relatively low property values would pay much less than those with higher valuations for the same Council services. It is generally accepted that a person's property value bears little relation to their use of Council's facilities and services, therefore the application of a minimum amount is considered to be a fairer outcome.

The effect of applying a Minimum General Rate is illustrated in the following example of two properties with valuations of $120,000 and $40,000. If General Rates were only based on Property Value multiplied by a Rate-in-the-dollar, Property ‘A' in the following example would pay three times as much General Rates as Property ‘B' for exactly the same Council services. This is obviously unfair so Council requires each ratepayer to pay a minimum amount of rates.


For example, in 2016/2017 the minimum is $994 per annum for Urban residential properties. Therefore in the following example, even though the owner of the more valuable property still pays almost 50% more than the owner of the less valuable property pays when a Minimum is applied, at least the minimum makes the comparison fairer than if it would be if it was based solely on valuation.

 Property  Property Value
 Rate in the dollar
 Rates charges
 A  $120,000  0.012325  $1,479
 B  $40,000  $0.012325  $493
 B  $40,000  Minimum applied
 $994
How are Service Charges calculated?

Services charges are levied by Council to recover the cost of providing a specific service, for example:

  • for supplying water; or
  • for the treatment and disposal of sewerage; or
  • for the collection and disposal of waste.

These services are self-funding and the service charges are calculated by dividing the cost of the service by the number of ratepayers who receive the service. Ratepayers who do not receive the service pay nothing towards financing it.Visit the Service Charges page for further information.

Further information:

FEATURE LINKS