The Council wants to ensure a fair rating system for all ratepayers.

over 6 years ago
CLOSED: This map consultation has concluded

The proposed new rating structure means all businesses across the Blue Mountails will pay the same rate-in-the-dollar and the proportion of overall rates contributed by businesses is transparent.

Under the current structure, businesses would contribute 6.79% of total rates revenue in 2011-2012, however businesses received the benefit of almost 9% of the Council's expenditure in 2010-2011. It is proposed to increase the contribution of rate revenue to approximately 9.5% which is better aligned with their use of Council provided services and facilities. 

Depending on location, the majority of businesses will pay more rates, many others however will receive a reduction in rates. 

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  • Gemglow over 9 years ago
    I have a business on the main street of Katoomba. We currently receive absolutely no services from BMCC whatsoever. We don't even get a garbage/recycling service included in our rates, despite the council claiming to be so 'green' and wanting to 'save the environment'. The chamber of commerce has had to pay itself for CCTV monitoring as well as beautification of Katoomba Street which BMCC refused to contribute to.

    So where was the 9% of council expenditure spent on businesses? In an imaginary fairy land that only BMCC councillors live in perhaps?

    If businesses in Katoomba are to pay rates calculated according to the share of council services they receive, then that means they shouldn't have to pay one cent.
    Hide Replies (2)
    • Risky over 9 years ago
      Removed by moderator.
    • not_happy over 9 years ago
      By way of disclosure, I am NOT a business owner. However I totally agree with the comments. Council seems quite intent here on making life harder for the very small businesses that bring tourists to the area (read: jobs for local residents, income for the community). These increases will be passed directly to the business owners because this is the way most commercial leases are written: the tenant pays the outgoings (and this includes the council rates). There is no point spending large amounts of money doing up Echo Point so people can have a BBQ and drive straight home at 3pm. Its the local businesses in the main street that encourage people to stay longer, browse, spend, and keep people employed. And for those who provide services to the community (butchers etc), why kick them while they are on the ground from Aldi/Woolworths/Coles.
  • Swaggy over 9 years ago
    A past business owner of 18 years in Katoomba Street

    Why does Council think that small business can afford to pay more? Where does this attitude come from? Businesses in Katoomba Street struggle to survive and always have. Small family businesses have built the services over many years that currently exist, and big business is moving in take it all - between Coles, Woolworths, Franklins, Kmart and Aldi- the main street will collapse under the competition from big business that has enough 'cushion' to survive price wars or economic downturn. This, more than the lack of care for the tourist destination it should be, shows Council does not care about those small family businesses in Katoomba, or any Mountains town.
  • Toby over 9 years ago
    I object to any rise in rates beyond normal allowed rises. There have been no increases in services in my area. For many, many years I was paying rates with no sealed roads and no services etc. There are no pathways or council maintained services in North Katoomba for example. Council provides very little to the residents of North Katoomba, when the roads were sealed council sent bills to residents for the installation of kerb and guttering. Council has also reduced the value of land in the area by re-zoning to a land use style that restricts usage. Council has done very little to improve North Katoomba at all.
    Council has managed however to upgrade Echo point, which local residents gain very little use, beautify the inside of the council foyer and spend bucket loads of money superficially improving the outside of the civic center without adding or improving any of its core services whatsoever.
    If council could explain to the residents of the blue mountains what services they actually provide, and allow the residents to choose via questionaire which services are most important to them, we would have a truly equitable user pays system if this is what they truly desire.
    Unfortunately unlike other developed bush areas, the Blue mountains continues to be an area poor on roads, poor on services and poor on oportunity.
  • osirisandloki over 9 years ago
    I would like to say that i feel not happy at all after reading all the information that has been given, my new "category" for where i live will increase from $361.00 to a min of $442.00 per Quarter.
    what am i going to get for this crazy increase????
    A better recycle system? More services from the council??? A concrete footpath on the hawksbury road when walking to Ellison rd public school on both sides of the road?( do i need to risk the life of myself and 2 children to go across the road twice just so i can wheel my pram on a level surface not the road)...... no.....The local leisure centre not charging absorbent charges to use their facilities?
    so how can they justify the LARGE increase! Please explain this to me. I will most certainly make a submission as another $400 a year on top of the growing cost of living(electricity etc) may cost me my house.
    And i DO Object to the new changes.
  • Risky over 9 years ago
    Why should the residential rate payers sudsidise business rate payers? What's wrong with paying according to the services received. Everyone has a complaint about how little is done for them - it still comes down to paying your fair share - and business isn't paying their fair share. The only complaint I have is that council can't communicate examples of who gains and who pays more (other than business).
    Hide reply (1)
    • Gemglow over 9 years ago
      Perhaps you haven't been reading the other comments, Risky. Business shouldn't have to pay more rates because they don't recieve any services whatsovever. Businesses don't even get a garbage/recycling service like the residents do. The chamber of commerce has had to pay itself for CCTV monitoring as well as beautification of Katoomba Street which BMCC refused to contribute to.

      So what are you talking about when you say 'business isn't paying their fair share'?

      If businesses in Katoomba are to pay rates calculated according to the share of council services they receive, then that means they shouldn't have to pay one cent.

      I think we can all agree that the BMCC is one of the worst, most unorganised councils in the entire state.
  • not_happy over 9 years ago
    I am a homeowner in Katoomba (current residential G which covers the whole of Katoomba/Leura - probably the largest single ratepaying townships). The current rate is 0.00451219 and the proposed new rate is 0.005243247. I have calculated the increase for my property to be $185 or 16.2%. How exactly has council calculated that the average DECREASE in rates for Katoomba residents would be $47 when we are all levied with a higher charge. I can only assume this is because the average includes a reduced minimum rate on vacant land. If this is the case, then be upfront and calculate the average INCREASE for occupied, residential properties in Katoomba so that the people who live here know exactly by how much Council intends increasing their cost of living. This will show the same result as mine - a substantial increase.
    Hide reply (1)
    • archer101 over 9 years ago
      You are exactly correct. This is a CLASSIC piece of distortion by the Council. I have calculated my own rate increase at over 18%. The figures provided by the Council are misleading as:

      1. They do not specifically show the effect of the annual increase in rates that the council is seeking - they have done the table in their submissions assuming the rates are the same as last year, which of course they are not.
      2. The Council are double-dipping because the new rates are based on revalued land values - so there is a 6-8% increase ON TOP OF the increase that the Council are after.
      3. As you noted, the main point of these changes is to increase the rates in the big townships such as Katoomba and Leura which have the highest land values, which will mean big increases to these residents. The land values shown in their table for the average for these suburbs are frankly comical and you may well be right as to the cause.

      The whole point of this 'simplification' is to get more rates from the 'better off' and larger townships so that the Council long term can increase their revenue base. There is nothing 'fair' about this at all - residents of places such as Katoomba and Leura ALREADY pay more because rates are based on land values, when land values have no relationship either to income or (more importantly) to who actually uses the Council services.

      Increases in business rates are ridiculous - the last thing that we need. This is just an unjustified cash grab - businesses are the lowest consumers of Council services.

      Overall, a massive scam.
  • Ruralresidential over 9 years ago
    The re-categorisation for rating purposes of my 20 hectare property to Residential rates. This change equates to a 20% increase in ad valorem rates for Version 1 and a 15.9% increase in ad valorem rates for Version 2 for Rural Residential land owners. My objections to the proposed and even the existing rating structure for Rural Residential land as “fair” are as follows:
    1. Increases are beyond any reasonable limits and well beyond the CPI for land which has less services and currently pays approximately twice the average residential rates for Springwood.
    2. The rating structure is inconsistent with the rating for the larger properties in the “Mounts” .
    3. Council does not provide residential infrastructure in the Rural Residential area, such as:
    (a) Sealed roads. The existing road is dirt and graded at six monthly intervals.
    (b) Drainage infrastructure.
    (c) Street lights.
    (d) Normal curb or gutter formation.
    (e) Any pedestrian access.
    4. The land usage rights have continued to be eroded since LEP 1991 with now 77.72% of the property zoned environmental protection and the remainder Bushland Conservation. This should put the ad valorem rating for the property lower than that of farmland for two reasons: farmland is a non environmentally friendly commercial usage of the land; and the community has demanded through Council that property owners of Rural Residential land provide environmental protection (77.72 % land) for the community without just terms compensation.
  • fido's friend over 9 years ago
    Having spoken to council officers, I feel that the proposed increase for Leura and Katoomba is misguided. As a Leura resident for 30 years, I receive no more services than any other council areas. In addition, despite the 'rich Leura' stereotype, I am a self-funded retiree who will be seriously affected by the increase. There are also many other self-funded retirees and pensioners in my area who will be affected. The increase also fails to take into account the 'knock on effect' in Katoomba, which according to a University of Technology study, has very high unemployment and a large percentage of families on low incomes ( Any rate increases in Katoomba will inevitably be passed on by landlords to tenants. Is this extra burden on the already disadvantaged fair and equitable? The council officer I spoke to conceded this and simply said 'rates are a blunt instrument'. He also said that the projected rate increases for Katoomba/Leura were probably lower than the increases that will eventuate. This is because the proposed increase in business rates was going to offset any residential increase, but that the proposed business rate increase had almost no chance of getting up because the business lobby is powerful and very vocal, whereas the residential lobby isn't. In summary, the proposed rate increases are inequitable, unfair, ill-considered and unjustified. Uniform rating is the way to go as it does not make inaccurate discriminations which have no rational basis in things like services actually delivered. Councillors in Ward 1 should consider that there are many more residents voting than business owners, and when residents of Leura and Katoomba realise the full extent of the increases, they may well express their discontent at the ballot box.
  • Chipster over 9 years ago
    I have been living in this community since I was 3 years old. I am very involved in this community. Over the years I have seen the waxing and waning of our village streets, worked hard with volunteers to try to get maintenance, care or many times even a response from council to help our villages... particularly Katoomba Street. We are on the cusp of having a 'cultural centre' on top of a multinational private development (Coles) that is touted to reinvigorate Katoomba. The proposed rate rise for businesses looks as if BMCC are now starting to panic as to where the millions of dollars to maintain and run this centre are coming from. Yet again, we the public, (both business owners and residents) have to prop up the bungling of our appointed councillors (those that voted for it and other schemes they did not fully understand). It will remain to be seen if the life will be sucked from the main street and now they want to hit the businesses that work hard for very little return. I am involved in 2 businesses and have seen the flurry of money grabbing ideas that have been coming from the people at BMCC employed to come up with these schemes. Shame council shame.
  • Lydo over 9 years ago
    Council have estimated that my rates will increase by $104, which on face value, does not seem like very much, but as a single mother NOT ON WELFARE, but working full time, it is a significant amount. Why do people (not just council) presume that those living in Leura are well off? Leura residents do not receive any more services than any other village residents - my street doesn't even have kerb & guttering or a footpath. I can't even get council to contribute to fencing that is shared by my property and theirs.
  • Chipster over 9 years ago
    As a resident of Leura I strongly object to being ripped off by incompetent over the hill Councillors who by their very mismanagement caused a funding shortfall in already exorbitant rates levied on properties that get no services whatsoever other than a weekly garbage collection. You can't single out one village for massive increases over the rest of the mountains simply because it has become the main attraction for visitors. WHO DO YOU THINK PROVIDES THE SERV ICES TO THESE TOURISTS WHO KEEP COMING BACK. I for one will be selling up if this mad scheme is allowed to be implemented.

    We have already lost 3 B. & B's and 3 more are on the market. That leaves 2 in Leura. Are you going to put the last 2 out of business???

    I can remember when Council provided a good library, decent pools, immaculate parks and play equipment, footpath mowing decent roads etc etc AND we were responsible for the National Parks as well as the Water for the City and Electricity supply.

    My suggestion is get an Administrator in, sack that sorry lot, give election of the MAYOR back to the ratepayers and specify that no Councillor can a) serve longer than 2 terms and b) OVER THE AGE OF 65 AND HAVE A PSYCHIATRIC ASSESSMENT BEFORE BEING ALLOWED TO STAND.

  • johnnno97 over 9 years ago
    I am a resident of Leura, and work at home and in Sydney.
    I have come to know a number of small businesses in the Mountains, on whom I depend, and on whom the community depends for employment. The effect of the GFC and the roadworks was bad enough; the effect of an increase in rates will be crippling.
    The proposed rates increase is on average 40% according to the council.However, for all of the small businesses to whom I have spoken it is about 43%. This a very large jump, at a difficult time.
    There is a lot of evidence in economic theory and practice that such dramatic changes cause unanticipated results; in this case the psychological and financial effects upon the businesses could cause them to go under.
    If this idea is so good, why cannot it not be phased in over a number of years?