Justification for rates rise is a ‘cheap trick’

Equal blow: The proposed increase would hit owners and tenants in more than 20,000 older units and modern apartments. Picture: John Veage
Equal blow: The proposed increase would hit owners and tenants in more than 20,000 older units and modern apartments. Picture: John Veage

Re the article “$300 rise in rates: Council hits apartment and unit dwellers” (Leader, November 28).

Three minutes. That’s how long it took our distinguished 15 council members to make a decision to increase our rates by $300 a year. 

The mayor chose not to comment. Instead, he encourages us to decorate and light up our homes, while council “will be spreading the cheer across Sutherland Shire”.

Most unit owners are middle class hard-working residents, not owners of multiple, prime-location coffee shops.

Average annual wage growth in Australia over the past three years is about 2 per cent, barely covering inflation.

At the same time, residents’ wallets are continuously squeezed by soaring costs of essential services, such as utilities, education, health and fuel.

However, council is unsatisfied with 2.7% annual rate rise, set by NSW government. It justifies the hike by rising costs of power, maintenance and renewal of assets and future services.

At the same time, approval rates of new multiple storey dwellings across the shire - is at a record high; our quality of life is constantly deteriorating, while council enjoys an influx of new rate payers. 

The cheapest trick in the council’s spin antics, is claiming the rise is justified by an unsubstantiated claim of disparity between rates paid by house and apartment owners. 

Sticking your hands deeper into our leaking pockets is the most convenient solution you’ve got. Instead, I suggest council re-evaluates the efficiency of its operations, increase web-based automated services, move to solar energy, re-negotiate contracts with suppliers, just to name a few alternative avenues for action.

I encourage my fellow unit/apartment owners to show their “gratitude” to each and every council member (including the mayor), come elections day.

Daniel  Biro, Cronulla

I read with interest your article regarding council’s move to increase rates on the owners of Strata title apartment properties.

As rates are levied on an unimproved capital value basis it is of course logical that owners of this type of property will pay less than the owner of a single occupancy dwelling. Is this fair?

If you believe the system is fair then unquestionably it is fair. Similarly the owner of a property which has a UCV of say $1,000,000 will pay twice as much than the owner of a block valued at $500K. Is this fair?

In my opinion it is totally unfair as both ratepayers are receiving exactly the same level of service from council.

The central problem to all of this is that the system we are using is totally flawed but has been in existence from day one. Should it be changed?

Surely after such a long period of utilising the same flawed system it is time that the existing system was at least reviewed. Government is quick to make changes to our systems when it suits them, I very much doubt however that any of our major political parties has the appetite to have a real hard look at the current rating system that has been forced upon us.

The concern would be of course that any proposed radical changes may cost votes. Unfortunately I feel we shall just bumble on with what we have for another 100 years.

Robert J Semple, Gymea Bay

Let me see, approve all the DA’s for all these units then after a while strike a rate rise on units –  guarantee your income first before pouncing. Good one, how about being honest in the first place.

​Damian O'Connor