RATES REPRIEVE: Glen van Kerkvoort was given a rates noticed with errors.
RATES REPRIEVE: Glen van Kerkvoort was given a rates noticed with errors.

Property owner spared 'exorbitant' rate rise in bill bungle

AN AGNES ratepayer has been given a reprieve after receiving an "exorbitant" 30% rate increase as he was wrongly charged for garbage bins council never delivered.

Glen van Kerkvoort has said other ratepayers should check their bills for errors.

He said after completing the construction of his home, his rates rocketed from $2,260.53 in 2014 to 2943.57 this year.

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Mr van Kerkvoort said a "cleansing fee" was the only charge shown on his rate notice that was behind the dramatic increase.

The cleansing fee, a compulsory service built into every resident's rates, was applied when his property was no longer categorised by council as "vacant".

He said he initially thought council was wrongly charging him for septic or water, despite that he had his own water and septic tank.

"Just to put a charge on a rate notice without information, that's what got my back up," he said.

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But in a twist that saved Mr van Kerkvoort from any rate rise in 2015-16, council had given him a bill for bins and a bin collection service, even though he'd never received the bins. 

He said he'd been taking all of his rubbish to the tip on a trailer.

He said council should apply the same level of focus to providing services as they do to collecting bills. 

"They check if residents are paying and there should be the same focus on the service," he said. "It seems like their focus is on the monetary aspect and not on the service.

"Councils are employees of the public it's not in the reverse. Sometimes I think they do lose that aspect."

Mr van Kerkvoort also raised concerns that, because they hadn't added the cleansing fee for last year's rates notice, council had attempted to lug two years of bills on him in one hit. 

"I don't think that's fair," he said.

"To come back and charge me for something they'd forgotten to charge for: that's a questionable way to treat the people who pay for your jobs."

But despite Mr van Kerkvoort never receiving a waste removal service, a council spokesman said council is charged by its waste contractor from the date of service and the "expense is passed on to the ratepayer". 

Mr van Kerkvoort stressed he appreciated "the way they dealt with it" but he said other ratepayers should check that they hadn't been charged a "cleansing fee" when they hadn't received bins.

The council spokesman said while "council does its utmost to ensure the validity of the charges" on rates notices, "on rare occasions errors are made".

"Council encourages ratepayers to review their notices and, if they believe an anomaly exists, contact council's Rates Department via details provided on their rates notices," he said.



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