What is the rate increase in percentage terms?

    In 2018-19 the average general rates increase will be 2.25 per cent, in line with the state-wide rate cap.

    There will also be an increase in the waste charge by $28, largely due to the impacts of the global recycling crisis, however this rise is among the lowest of any Victorian Council.

    Council has been able to keep its waste charge increase low compared to many other Councils, in part due to:

    ·  Reductions in site management costs for the Stevensons Road Closed Landfill, and achievement of efficiencies in other waste management contracts

    ·  Reductions in Hard Waste service costs, after a recent tender process

    Does that mean my rates will increase by exactly 2.25 per cent from last year?

    No, as rate increases are also based on the outcome of property valuations conducted by the Victorian Valuer General.

    All Councils in Victoria are required to undertake new valuations every two years and the City of Casey undertook a valuation of rateable properties as at 1 January 2018.

    Valuations are independently certified by the Valuer General, and revaluations do not generate extra revenue for  Council.

    Ratepayers should not expect their rates notice to rise by exactly the forecast inflation rate of 2.25 per cent, as the level of rates will be affected by the relative values of individual properties to the average rate.

    Based on the preliminary property valuations, which are waiting certification from by the Victorian Valuer General, the rates and waste charge for residential properties will increase by an average of approximately $85 this year.

    Why are Casey’s rates higher than some other Councils?

    Casey is faced with planning and providing for a rapidly growing community, which is a challenge many inner municipalities don’t have.

    Over 120 people move into Casey each week and it’s forecast that by 2041, more than 500,000 residents will call Casey home.

    We are taking steps now to plan for the future of the City, to ensure we can continue to deliver the essential services and infrastructure that residents enjoy now, into the future. This includes continuing our investment into new community infrastructure and services.

    Saying that, Casey has some of the lowest rates per capita in outer metropolitan Melbourne.

    Why can’t you reduce spending to allow for lower rates?

    Council understands the financial pressures facing residents, but we cannot afford to stop our investment into community facilities, parks and roads or providing crucial services to many of our residents.

    While increasing rates is not our preferred option, we have to balance the external costs being placed onto Council and our responsibility to continue delivering high quality services and building community infrastructure that our community not only needs but deserves.

    What are my rates paying for?

    Rates are used to fund Council’s investment in community infrastructure like maintaining, renewing and building new community and family centres and sports and recreation facilities and maintaining roads and parks, as well as to deliver important community services.

    The Draft Budget features an operating budget of $319.9 million to ensure Council continues to provide vital services to more than 325,000 residents and $121.2 million capital works program to fund a range of necessary infrastructure projects.

    What are the major initiatives being funded through the Capital Works Program in 2018-19?

    In 2018-19, Council will be investing: 

    $25.98m to renew, upgrade and construct new sports recreational facilities including:

    • New District Level Soccer Pavilion at Jack Thomas Reserve, Narre Warren North ($4.08m)
    • Pavilion upgrade for soccer, cricket and football at Lawson Poole Reserve, Cranbourne ($3.13m)
    • Renewal, refurbishment and upgrade of both the softball/baseball pavilion and football/cricket pavilion at Sweeney Reserve ($2.92m) 
    • Continued development of the Hunt Club Estate District AFL and cricket facility, Cranbourne East ($2.53m)
    • Continued construction of new netball courts and upgrades to existing courts at Olive Reserve, Eumemmerring ($1.81m)
    $14.66m to renew and build family and community facilities including: 
    • New Family and Community Centre in Ramlegh Estate, Clyde ($3.1m)
    • New Family and Community Centre in Kilora Estate, Clyde North ($3.73m)
    • Continued construction to complete Autumn Place Community Hub, Doveton ($1.42m)
    • Extensions of Marriott Waters Family and Childrens Centre, Lyndhurst ($1.18m) and Hunt Club Children’s Centre, Cranbourne East ($963,900)
    • Renewal of Chalcot Lodge Children’s Centre and Community Room, Endeavour Hills ($787,100)
    $26.65m improving Casey’s expansive road and path network including:
    • Planning, design and construction of a missing link of Glasscocks Road, Hampton Park ($7m)
    • Construction of Ballarto Road from South Gippsland Highway to Five Ways Road, Clyde, including South Gippsland Highway intersection ($4.17m)
    • Construction of Smiths Lane, from North Road to Browns Road Cranbourne South ($3.78m)
    • Creation of recreational Troups Creek shared path, from north of Princes Highway to Saffron Drive, Narre Warren ($520,467)
    $4.55m building and improving our playgrounds and open spaces including:
    • Development of recreation park land, called Bayview Park, inspired by the 1000 Steps at the old Narre Warren Landfill Site, Narre Warren North ($531,200)
    • Stage 2 development of Livvi's Place Playground, Lyndhurst ($265,600)
    • Renewal of Buchanan Park Playground, Berwick ($191,300)

    $4.4m to continue Council’s digital transformation to leverage technology, innovation and data to meet the demands of our future size including:
    • Commence a transformation program designed to advance the organisation’s business processes and associated technological systems ($2.12m)
    • Implement Smart City initiatives ($1.64m)

    Why does Council need to invest in it’s digital systems and what is the Enterprise Architecture Transformation Program?

    At its Council Meeting on 6 March 2018, Casey voted to fund a transformation program designed to advance the organisation’s business processes and associated technological systems.

    The transformation program will enhance the work already undertaken by Council to develop our digital services, ultimately providing an even better experience for our residents.

    The program is needed to deliver smarter, simplified, streamlined business processes and technology to support Council’s Digital Casey, Smart Cities and Customer Focus initiatives and future operational needs

    Our current systems are outdated, they run on technology that is costly to maintain and result in a substantial amount of manual handling by officers due to the fact that they don’t integrate or share data with one another.

    The fact is, if we choose to do nothing it will cost us more money to maintain the systems and processes we currently have.

    In the last ten years we have seen amazing new technology arrive on to the market. Our residents deserve the opportunity to benefit from this technology, and our Council will depend on it to absorb rate capping and growth pressures.

    Over the next 20 years our population will grow to over 500,000, the equivalent of Tasmania or the ACT. We need systems that can grow with our population.

    Does the Fire Services Property Levy generate additional income for Council?

    All Victorian Councils are required to collect this levy on behalf of the Victorian Government, and must pass the full amount on to the State Revenue Office.

    The Fire Services Property Levy will continue to appear as a separate charge on your Council rates.

    This replaces the fire services contributions which residents and businesses previously made through their insurance premiums on their properties.

    What if I am having difficulty paying my rates?

    Any ratepayer facing financial difficulties is encouraged to contact Council on 9705 5200 to discuss payment options in-line with Council’s Hardship Policy.

    How can I have my say on the Draft Budget?

    All residents are invited to view the Draft Budget and make a submission by 5.00 pm, Friday 8 June 2018.

    The Draft Budget is available for inspection at the City of Casey’s Customer Service Centres and on Council’s website at www.casey.vic.gov.au.

    Ratepayers can make a submission on the budget online at www.caseyconversations.com.au.

    Alternatively, ratepayers can send written submission addressed to the CEO and email to caseycc@casey.vic.gov.au or mailed to PO Box 1000, Narre Warren, 3805.

    Any resident who makes a submission on the budget will have the opportunity to present to Council on 19 June 2018 at a Special Council Meeting.

    The Council will consider any written submissions, prior to adopting the budget at a Special Council Meeting at Bunjil Place on 26 June 2018.