Most ratepayers don't object to fire levy 

Inclusion of the fire services levy has had a negligible impact on the number of rate notice objections to south-west councils.

Moyne Shire ratepayers were least concerned, the objections falling by nearly 50 per cent compared to the previous financial year.

Objections to Warrnambool City and Corangamite Shire, meanwhile, increased only slightly.

Moyne had 46 objections this financial year, with the majority emanating from rural ratepayers, compared to 86 objections in 2012-13.

Corangamite Shire received 105 objections this financial year, five more than the previous surveyed period, while Warrnambool City had only 38 objections in 2013-14 compared to 37. 

Municipal Association of Victoria president Bill McArthur said the organisation had not collected statewide data for rate objections this financial year but believed most councils had experienced no significant change.

He said there was a widespread understanding across Victoria that the Fire Services Levy was a state charge and not a municipal impost.

“The communication around the introduction of the Fire Services Levy has been pretty successful, I think people understand where that charge was coming from,” Cr McArthur said.

“I’m sure there’ll be some ratepayers that will make an objection about it but the television and newspaper campaign highlighted what was going on and why people had that additional charge on their rates notice.”

Cr McArthur said rate notice objections were more common in municipalities that had to raise rates by a significant percentage.

“Anecdotally, I haven’t heard of any significant number of objections but it tends to spike when there’s a general rise in rates, say of more than six or seven per cent,” he said.

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