The average Ballarat home-owner will face a rise in the amount of rates they pay, despite the freeze on revenue proposed in the council's draft budget.
The 49,181 residential properties in the municipality will now cost an average of $1,439 in rates, a $14 increase year on year - or the equivalent of a 0.9 per cent rise.
Last year, the average rates bill came to a total of $1,425, the draft budget states.
However, the rise in residential rates will be offset, mostly by a decrease in bills for commercial property owners. Combined revenue would equal the same level of rates as collected in 2019/20.
Glenn Kallio, the City of Ballarat's director of business services said a zero rate rise did not necessarily mean rates would stay the same.
He said this was due to the annual revaluation of rateable properties. "This means the burden of rate payments shifts around Ballarat's suburbs, and even the different rating groups, according to the property value," he said.
Ballarat residents whose homes rose sharply in value last year should also prepare for higher hikes in their bills than the $14 average.
Rates are worked out by taking a property's Capital Improved Value - set by the Victorian Valuer General - which is then multiplied by a rate in the dollar set by each individual council.
It means rates for houses that gained most in value will cost owners proportionally more year on year than for those with homes that went up more modestly.
Using the same method, it means not all home-owners whose houses have risen in value will face an increase - just those with values that have spiked highest.
With the rate in the dollar proposed by the City of Ballarat, if your home value increased by more than around 4.7 per cent in value last year, you can expect to see your rates bill go up if this draft budget goes ahead as proposed.
The property valuation happens every 12 months, with the Victorian Valuer-General aiming to reflect the value of properties on January 1 of the current year.
As a rapidly growing regional city, more residential properties will be included in the overall rates level this year - with the municipality now comprising 49,181 homes for rates purposes - up 868 from the previous year.
There may be better news, however, for owners of the municipality's 2,366 commercial rate-payers who will benefit from a 3.8 percent decrease on average in their rates if the budget goes ahead as currently presented.
Under the current proposals commercial property owners will pay an average of $8,978, as outlined in the draft budget - down from $9,331 in 2019/20.
Most Victorian councils that have released their draft budgets so far are proposing rates increases for the next financial year.
Geelong councillors, for example, are proposing a rise of 1.9 per cent with the biggest injection of capital works ever undertaken planned for the next financial year.
The average increase in their residential rates is cited as $24.59 in budget documents, just over $10 more than the rise for Ballarat residents.
The typical Geelong rates bill will, if their budget is passed, remain notably lower than that of Ballarat, with $1,310.21 for a property at an average price.
Rates increases are capped at a rate set by the Essential Services Commission each year, and this year's limit of two per cent was set prior to the onset of restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Fair Go rates cap, as it is now known, was introduced in the 2016/17 financial year.
The City's director of business services Glenn Kallio told councillors last week that not taking up the rate increase would see the amount of revenue collected diminish by $2.5 million.
Mr Kallio said in a statement on Tuesday that while some bills would fall and others would rise, the City of Ballarat would not receive any extra rate revenue.
The full list of average rises is as follows for the different categories: Residential up 0.9 per cent; Commercial down 3.8 per cent; Industrial up 1.5 per cent; Farms up 1 per cent; Recreational 1 up 1.8 per cent; Recreational 2 down 1.2 per cent; and Rural Residential increasing by 0.7 per cent.
Responses to the draft budget will be open to the public until June 8.
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