A FRANKSTON councillor is pushing for a rate cut.
Cr Steven Hughes has put forward a proposal to cut general rates for Frankston residents by five per cent in the 2022/2023 financial year. He told The Times that “total council spend is the main driver why Frankston rates are as high as they are. It’s quite simple, if council spends less than rates will go down.”
“Council must re-focus its energies on providing superior services to the community at an affordable level based on the means of our residents. That might mean forgoing a new swimming pool or fancy statues but it will bring legitimacy back to an organisation that is currently viewed, by many in the community, as out of touch with their reality,” he said.
A response to the proposal put together by council’s director corporate and commercial services read that the impact of the five per cent rate cut would be “extremely significant and will impact on council’s future ability to both provide services and deliver key community infrastructure projects.”
Cr Hughes said “there is a lot of financial fear mongering about how a rate cut would impact on services but it’s all hullabaloo. I have ring-fenced key departments like community and health, and community safety to protect their funding from being impacted.” He proposes that the reduction in rate income be offset by cuts to council’s operating costs and capital works program.
In response to the motion, council’s director corporate and commercial services says “Frankston City Council rates are not higher than average in comparison to other metropolitan councils and are in fact generally lower particularly when comparing rates to other councils in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs”.
The average rate collected per property assessment is roughly equivalent to nearby councils, but Frankston ratepayers pays more as a percentage of property value. Council says this is because “the average valuation in Frankston is generally lower than many of these councils and significantly lower in comparison to inner Melbourne bayside suburbs. This means that for Frankston City Council to raise a similar amount in rates as other councils (for it to provide a similar level of local government services) it must use a rate in the dollar which is applied to the valuations.”
The motion was scheduled to be put forward at council’s 4 April meeting, shortly after publication deadline.
A proposal put forward by Cr Hughes in February last year to cut rates by one per cent was rejected with a 7-2 vote (“Rate cut promise not supported” The Times 24/2/21).