Public encouraged to help find solutions to rates issues
|3 September 2004
People across South Australia are being encouraged to provide input to the Local Government Association (LGA) proposals to protect ratepayers from the extremes of volatile annual property valuations and identify other ways of funding Council services.
The call follows the finalisation of the proposals endorsed by last month's special meeting of the LGA State Executive Committee to address ongoing concerns about Council rates.
The proposal papers are available on the LGA website (http://www.lga.sa.gov.au and comment/ feedback can be submitted either online or on paper to the LGA.
"We want to hear it from the community on issues ranging from ongoing concerns about council rates to the financial sustainability of local government," said LGA President Councillor John Legoe.
"We encourage people to visit the website, analyse the 'Resourcing Council Services' proposals, comment on them and get involved in helping us achieve a just system for all."
The package includes proposals for:
- An independent inquiry into the sustainability of funding for Local Government;
- A review of the relationship between valuations and property taxes;
- An independent audit of Council processes;
- Development of an index of movements in Council's costs;
- A review of Council complaint mechanisms and visibility of the Ombudsman's role;
- A proposed State/Local Financial Reform Agreement to address 'cost shifting'; and
- A campaign to achieve equity in Commonwealth funding to SA Councils.
Councillor Legoe said the proposed independent inquiry would be open to further public submission if it was implemented as proposed, but that the LGA was keen to get public input throughout the process.
"We are keen to look at any ideas to improve Local Government's capacity and the fairness of Council rates," Cr Legoe said.
He said the LGA was already talking to Queensland Councils about the rolling valuations concept and was encouraging Councils to become active in the Federal election to push for a fairer share of Federal Funding for Local Government to come to SA.