Land values soar
By UTE SCHULENBERG
BELLINGEN Shire's total land value has increased by 119 per cent over three years.
This announcement of average increases across the local government area was made by the NSW Valuer General, Philip Western, yesterday.
This news confirms the trend many ratepayers have already seen on their own recently received valuation notices.
"There are 5860 properties in the Register of Land Values within the Bellingen Shire with a total land value of $1.07 billion, compared to $486.8 million in 2001," Mr Western said.
"The figures reflect a significant increase in value for all classes of property due primarily to the buoyant market during 2002/2003 when demand outstripped supply, especially in coastal locations."
Individual figures for the increases at various locations around the shire however reveal a rather different picture.
Bellingen Shire Council's general manger, Peter Doyle, gave examples of increases in land value variations from 146.7 per cent in Bellingen and 161.5 per cent in Urunga to 37 percent in Deervale and 43.6 percent in Megan.
"And then there are valuations of individual streets ? one street in Urunga has an increase of 244.1 percent ? the highest increase in the whole shire," Mr Doyle said.
With such huge variations, Mr Doyle said it was difficult to predict rate increases at this stage.
"Council staff are currently analysing the figures, however there is no correlation between the percentage increase on the land value and the percentage increase in council rates," he said.
He did point out that while State Government rate pegging legislation allowed a maximum increase of about three per cent for overall rate revenue, individual rates varied according to the values of individual blocks.
"It has been the basic philosophy of coun- cils for many years, that the most valuable
properties pay the most rates.
"There would be many people in Urunga and Bellingen, for example, who will be paying more rates."
The story is similar in the Nambucca local government area.
At their last meeting, Nambucca Shire councillors were told of an increase of 170 per cent in total shire valuations, with individual block increases ranging from between 200 and 400 per cent.
A report on the impact of the new land values on rating categories within their shire is expected to be presented to the council soon.