George Town Council rates debate raises concerns

Two petitions raising concerns about a proposed review of George Town council’s rates modelling system failed to reach the necessary number of signatures to be tabled at the upcoming council meeting. 

At the March 15 council meeting, George Town mayor Bridget Archer moved for the general manager to undertake modelling on different rating systems to assist Council in potentially reworking rates in the municipality.

The motion resolved in the council meeting was to investigate rates systems “that do not concentrate the rating burden on specific categories of ratepayer to one that is more evenly distributed”.

Mayor Archer emphasised her reassurance to the community that no changes would be made to the current rate modelling without full public consultation.

She said the intention was to look at different categories of rate payers and how best to adjust rates to attract more commercial interest and heavy industry to Bell Bay.

She said the council has some of the highest rates in the state and the council was seeking to address that issue.

“We’re not trying to take away from residential rate payers,” she said.

The request for further studies included considerations of possible “rate capping, fixed charges and timeframes over introducing any alternative rating methodology”.

A petition was presented to Council at the March meeting by Councillor Tim Parish on behalf of Martin Judd, however the 119-signature petition failed to attain the required 1000 signatures, or 5 per cent of total electors, for it to be considered by council and a public meeting to be called.

Likewise, a second petition lodged by Peter Nye and Denise van Emmerick of 136 signatures could not be tabled. The council’s acting general manager notified the petitioners.

However, at the April meeting to be held on Wednesday, councillors will consider a recommendation to “acknowledge the concerns of the petitioners as outlined in the petition” and “reassure the ratepayers that no change to the current rating model will be introduced without full public consultation.”