Councils object to capped property rates

THE Local Government Association (LGA) of South Australia has voiced concerns over the State Liberal's council rate capping proposal, claiming services would suffer.

At an announcement last week, State Liberal leader Steven Marshall said rate rises would be capped from July 1, 2015, saving some ratepayers hundreds of dollars during the next term of Parliament and thousands of dollars during the next decade.

"Council rates in South Australia increased by an average of 6.8 per cent per year between 2002-03 and 2011-12 - more than double the rate of inflation and 2.4 percentage points more than New South Wales, which has a cap in place," he said.

"If council rates in South Australia grew at 4.4pc per year over the next decade, instead of the 6.8pc they increased by over the last decade, a household paying $1000 in annual rates today (would) save $1891."

But the association's acting president Lorraine Rosenberg said the savings were not what they seem.

Mayor David Burgess says infrastructure throughout the Mid Murray district would suffer if council property rates were capped, as the Liberal Party has proposed in the lead-up to the State election.

Mayor David Burgess says infrastructure throughout the Mid Murray district would suffer if council property rates were capped, as the Liberal Party has proposed in the lead-up to the State election.

She said people would be swayed by the prospect of a lower rate bill "but what they are not going to see is the end cost to community services and service delivery".

Ms Rosenberg convened a special meeting on Thursday to determine LGA's response to the proposal.

"The meeting reaffirmed LGA Policy which opposes central interference in local community decisions," she said.

"I will be contacting Steven Marshall to advise him of the outcome of the board meeting and will be calling meetings with minor parties in the legislative council to raise our concerns."

Mid Murray Council Mayor Dave Burgess stood by the LGA, saying infrastructure such as roads and storm drains may be seriously impacted if the proposal goes ahead.

"It will also affect council's capacity to support new infrastructure where developments are taking place which could put a brake on growth and jobs," he said.

"It also makes it very difficult when SA councils get the lowest in grants funding support from the Government of any state in Australia.

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