Report fails to rate

THE Launceston City Council will push ahead with its own review of rating systems because of unease at a state government draft report on the issue. 

Alderman Rosemary Armitage described the report's recommendation to move to capital valuations for a ratings base as unethical and immoral. 

At yesterday's council meeting she moved that aldermen merely note the report rather than accept it as being advised by council staff. 

Deputy Mayor Jeremy Ball inserted in the motion that the council undertake a major public review of the ratings system with input from the community. 

The council voted last year for the review but put it on hold until the government review was finalised. 

``For the Division of Local Government to determine that (capital valuations) really determines people's capacity to pay . . . I don't think that is moral, I don't think that's ethical,'' Alderman Armitage said.

She said she had spoken to an 85-year-old pensioner who had lived in the same house for 45 years and was worried  she would have to sell up under the changes.

But the government's report points out 16 per cent of property owners in Launceston and 56 per cent under the West Tamar Council already pay rates based on capital values. 

The legislated ``4 per cent rule'' says assessed annual value  - which Tasmanian councils use as a ratings base - must not be less than 4 per cent of capital value. 

In 2010-2011 Launceston properties worth more than $400,000 were effectively paying rates based on capital value. 

Alderman Robin McKendrick took issue with how properties are valued. 

He said his house was previously overvalued when the valuer used Google Earth and mistakenly identified a garage that didn't exist. 

Alderman Jim Cox said he did not support AAV and backed the report.

``There is no way we are going to win with everybody,'' he said. 

The government's review is yet to wrap up with a public consultation period open until November 19 before it is finalised and sent to Local Government Minister Bryan Green.

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