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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Rate rage

Dozens of Yorke Peninsula primary producers voiced their concerns regarding the upcoming financial year’s rating model during a Yorke Peninsula Council workshop on Wednesday, February 14. The public gallery overflowed into the foyer as attendees, spurred by a Facebook post circulating in groups like the Weavers Ag Bureau, gathered to express their apprehensions.

The Facebook post, which circulated prior to the workshop, cited worries about the council allegedly considering doubling rates for primary producers to provide discounts for shack owners and town homeowners. However, clarification provided during the workshop revealed that the council has no intention to double rates for primary producers.

Instead, finance staff presented potential rates models for primary producers, indicating they could pay between 60 to 80 percent of the residential rate, with a general increase of 6.5 percent. This proposed rate adjustment aims to achieve a more equitable rating structure, addressing the disparity where primary production land contributes significantly more to rateable income compared to residential properties.

Comparative analysis shows that primary producers in neighboring council areas like Adelaide Plains, Light Regional, and Copper Coast currently pay double the rate in the dollar compared to Yorke Peninsula farmland owners.

Yorke Peninsula Council’s financial services manager, Daniel Griffin, emphasized the need to rectify the imbalance in rating structures and recoup lost revenue due to decreased federal grants. The reduction in grant funding since 2016-17 has prompted the council to reassess its rating model.

However, Councilor Roger Johns expressed skepticism about solely relying on grants to justify increasing rates for primary producers. He advocated for exploring alternative approaches to address funding shortfalls.

The council intends to further deliberate on the issue and engage in official public consultation before finalizing the rates model for the 2024-25 financial year

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