The WA State Government Valuer-General has undertaken a major re-valuation of Geraldton properties that will see thousands of homeowners and property investors hit with increases in utility costs and a likely jump in City rates.
Following the growth of Geraldton and recent high-value sales of commercial property, such as the $47 million sale of Northgate, the Gross Rental Value (GRV) has been raised dramatically.
Local owners and retailers have hit out angrily at what they say is Colin Barnett constantly spruiking WA as a growth state and yet suffering one of the highest costs of living in the world.
Small retailers will be the hardest hit with some CBD property likely to rise by 30-40 per cent — a rate hike that will be passed onto tenants.
Suburbs worst hit with increases of more than 40 per cent will be Walkaway, Spalding, and Rangeway.
Jumping more than 30 per cent is Webberton, Meru, Moresby, Wonthella, Beresford and Geraldton.
Jumping more than 20 per cent is Karloo, Utakarra, Bluff Point, Waggrakine, West End, Bootenal and Mt Tarcoola.
While the increase in valuation represents a mixed blessing for property owners who gain from an assessed increased in their asset, worse news is yet to come.
As a result of the re-valuation, property owners will also be hit with hikes in the cost of sewerage, emergency services levies and on certain commercial properties, State Land Tax.
Member for Geraldton MLA Ian Blayney said: “I wasn’t aware of it, but the valuer-general does this constantly on a 5 year rotation, I think.”
“I am naturally concerned about a revaluation that is going to affect some of the less well-off sections of the community,” he said.
“I am expecting to meet with the council on Friday and will sound them out on what they know about the extent of the revaluation, and if it will affect their rate in the dollar.”
The increase could see both the State and local government effectively hitting householders with increases averaging 24 per cent across the district based on current rate in the dollar linked charges.
City of Geraldton CEO Tony Brun said re-valuation years represented a difficult balancing act for both State and local governments.
He said the City was working with its Council to try and keep rates increases to a minimum but had to also deal with its own increases from State Government utilities and the additional inflationary impact of 0.7 per cent caused by Julia Gillard’s Carbon Tax.
The City finances will be hit with approximately $600,000 for increased electricity costs and $700,000 for the Carbon Tax.
At this stage the City officers are recommending to Council to keep residential rates at just over 10.22c in the dollar, an increase of 6.7 per cent.
The minimum property rate of $895 is recommended.
The question of rates will go before Council in July following a submission period for appeals.