A Tallarook couple certainly pose some interesting questions.By Chalpat Sonti
It promised to be a fairer Fire Services Levy, but for Judy Briggs — and possibly many others in our region — it could be anything but.
The Tallarook resident and her husband live on a 24
But on making inquiries to the council about the fire levy — this year to be charged through rates rather than insurance — they were in for a nasty surprise.
‘‘They told us we were primary producers, but we never have been and never will be,’’ Mrs Briggs said.
‘‘The (Australian Tax Office) definition of a primary producer is someone carrying on a business, so how can they possibly class us as one?’’
The definition matters to the Briggs’, who are pensioners — the fire levy they previously paid through insurance was about $100, but they were told by the council it would now be $318.24 on their property, which has a capital improved value of $379
‘‘People can’t just sit back and let them call you something you’re not,’’ Mrs Briggs said.
‘‘A house in town worth $500
‘‘It’s just not right. Not everyone is aware this is going to happen and it’s going to be a bit of a shock.’’
She has contacted State Member for Seymour Cindy McLeish, who sent her last rates notice, and will send her next one, to Victorian Treasurer Michael O’Brien.
Mitchell Shire Council acting chief executive Travis Heeney said the council made a decision on which State Revenue Office code applies to the property based on the State Guidelines. These varied from the council’s rates guidelines.
Residents could put in an objection to the land rating code under the Land Valuation Act 1960. Objection forms are available online at www.dse.vic.gov.au/property or by request from the council. Completed forms received within two months of the notice can be returned to council or the SRO. A valuer would assess the code and will put through a recommendation. The council would then send this recommendation to the State Revenue Office and it would make a decision.
The levy is a Victorian Government charge that funds the Metropolitan Fire Brigade and Country Fire Authority. The Government has set the rates used to calculate the levy — a fixed component of $100 for residential properties and $200 for non-residential properties, plus a variable charge based on the Capital Improved Value of the property.
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