HORSHAM Rural City Council residential ratepayers have thrown their support behind farmers.
Retired businessman and ratepayer Bob Hayes said the rate disparity was a concern.
“I really feel for the farmers because they have it hard enough without worrying about rate increases,” he said.
“The balance seems to be a bit unfair at the moment, however council’s costs would be rising.
“They still have services and facilities they need to pay for, so it would be a difficult balancing act to make it fair without cutting costs.”
He said his rates had doubled during the last 10 years.
“There needs to be a fair system and there should have been more thought on it,” he said.
“They’re not making it easier fro residential ratepayers either.”
Erin Ryan is a new residential ratepayer.
“I split my rates with three different people because the block’s been subdivided, so I’m not sure how much I pay,” she said.
“I assume my rates go towards paying for things like new signs and traffic lights, but I’m not sure of the specifics.”
She said council could better inform its residents of where their rates went.
“There could be something sent out with your rates, telling you what rates are going towards,” she said.
“I know some other councils they send out letters saying this is exactly where your rates are going and what you’re paying for, the breakdown to where your rates have gone.
“It probably depends on the size of the land, but I suppose it should be fair.”
Emma Herschell owns properties in both Horsham and Melbourne.
“Our rates are a lot less in the city than they are here, even though we probably get less services in Horsham,” she said.
“Council could definitely better inform its residents of where rates go to. They could provide updates, have council information sessions, just any way to put it out to the public that our rates are going towards these specific things.
“For instance, when they send rate notices out they could provide information about what they’ve done in the last 12 months and what our money has gone to.”
She said she was aware of the disparity between rural and residential ratepayers.
“I think it needs to be on a more even and fair playing field,” she said.
“I don’t think we should expect our rural ratepayers to pay a hefty amount for the people in town. I think it is quite unfair at the moment from what I’ve heard. It could be more balanced and evenly spread out.”
Horsham council residential ratepayer Janette McCabe also said rate increases were unfair for farmers.
“It seems like quite a significant increase, particularly in a year when it has been quite dry,” she said.
“I imagine for farmers it is quite difficult when they’re had major increases.”