A record number of ratepayers are expected to challenge their rate bills as anger grows over Warrnambool City Council's rate rise, ratepayer association president Brian Kelson says.
Rate notices arrived in the mail this month with bills expected to rise by an average $103, but Mr Kelson said there had been a lot of complaints and some were getting increases double that.
"People are not liking it at all," he said. "It's not just residential but industrial as well that have copped a fair old increase."
The council has been hit with major backlash after getting special permission from the Essential Services Commission to lift rates by an extra two per cent above the 2.5 per cent state government cap.
The rate bill increase includes an average rise of $69 in rates and municipal charges as well as a $34, or 9 per cent, jump in waste costs. The average rate bill will be $2029, up from $1926.
Mr Kelson said he'd heard of one property jumping in value by $64,000, or almost 15 per cent in a year, which raised the rate bill by more than 10 per cent.
The council uses property valuations - which are done independently - to calculate rate bills, but the value of each property doesn't alter the overall amount of rate revenue it collects.
I think this year will be a record year for objectionsBrian Kelson
Since 2018, valuations have been conducted annually, rather than bi-annually, by an independent valuer which are audited and approved by the state government-appointed Valuer General.
Mr Kelson said a lot of people were doing it tough with the rate rise coming on top of other increases such as pet fees.
"I think this year will be a record year for objections," he said.
Mr Kelson said that maybe it was time to change the way properties were valued for rating purposes, suggesting each house be revalued individually each year.
However, Les Speed, who has been valuing properties in Warrnambool for 30 years, said it was "mission impossible" to value each property individually each year.
He said commercial and industrial properties were inspected annually, but he was contracted to only conduct a kerbside inspection on a third of residential and rural residential properties every year.
He said he had already revalued one property this year, but on average each year objections would trigger an inspection of about 25 properties - which included internal assessments which take up to 40 minutes.
That was a small percentage of the 18,000 property valuations conducted each year, he said.
Mr Speed said property values in Warrnambool had increased an average of five per cent since last year.
Changes in property values does not mean council is raising additional rates revenue above the 4.5 per cent forecast in council's budget.Warrnambool City Council
However, he said the valuation process worked both ways with some seeking revaluations finding that their properties were actually worth more than the rate notice stated.
It's a complex process that involves taking into account nearby property sales and other data while also conducting some kerbside property inspections.
"Not all the data can be exactly accurate all the time because it's a kerbside inspection," Mr Speed said.
He said there would be fluctuations in properties prices in different areas around Warrnambool based on sales and other factors such as ocean views and central locations.
In a statement, Warrnambool council said that it had received six formal objections so far this year while last year there were 32 objections of which 28 were successful in having their valuations reduced and rates adjusted.
In 2017-18, all 14 objections were upheld. Of the 24 objections in 2016-17, 19 were upheld and in 2015-16 22 of the 23 objections were upheld.
"Changes in property values does not mean council is raising additional rates revenue above the 4.5 per cent forecast in council's budget," it said.
Residents have until the end of December to lodge an objection with council.