Latrobe Rating Strategy Review

Project name:  Latrobe Rating Strategy Review

Client:  Latrobe City Council

Location:  Latrobe (VIC)

Status:  Completed March 2013

Brief:  MacroPlan was engaged by Latrobe City Council to undertake a review of its rating structure.

The key objectives of the study were to:

  • Make recommendations in relation to Council’s rating system such that rates revenue provides financial sustainability for the Council and achieves an equitable distribution across residents
  • Make recommendations in relation to the implementation of levies associated with the Cultural and Recreational Lands Act 1963
  • Prepare guidelines for implementation of the Rating strategy

Methodology:  MacroPlan prepared a project methodology to deliver the required outcomes for Latrobe City Council.  The methodology had been used by MacroPlan in previous ratings strategies and consisted of the key components required to deliver what are considered to be the necessary project outputs.

The methodology involved a five stage approach:

Stage One:

MacroPlan set up the project (key milestones, stakeholders, communication channels, timelines, obtained relevant documents and information etc).  MacroPlan consulted with relevant Council staff, reviewed the existing rating strategy and identified key issues and opportunities.

Stage Two:

MacroPlan Dimasi prepared Stage 1 of the research report. This report outlined the best practice application of differential rating strategies and the application of the Recreation and Culture Act.  The report highlighted key issues to be considered in rating options for Council, including:

  • Rating overview (objectives, framework)
  • Review and analysis of existing Rating Strategy (revenue structure; revenue by type; trends; share of total revenue; sources; etc)
  • Review of objectives contained in key strategies (e.g. Council Plan; Economic Development Strategy; etc)
    • Review of differential rates, benchmarking to other Councils
    • Review of the Cultural and Recreational Lands Act 1963 and associated levies
    • Local and broader economic Context
    • Review of economic and demographic drivers, and impact of demographic changes on Councils rates base

Stage Three:

MacroPlan Dimasi consulted with targeted focus groups (e.g. associations and traders), including:

  • Resources and Energy Sector
  • Farming
  • Commercial
  • Tourism
  • Industrial
  • Interviews / Workshops

A consultation paper (which was incorporated into the Research Paper) was then written following interviews/workshops with targeted groups.

Stage Four:

MacroPlan then reviewed study findings and sought Council feedback on the Research Paper.  We then consulted with relevant Council Staff to explore and model scenarios.  During this stage, MacroPlan determined the rating options for consideration in the Revised Strategy and the appropriate application of Cultural and Recreational Lands Act 1963 and associated levies.

Stage Five:

In the final stage, MacroPlan presented a revised Rating Strategy and Implementation Plan for the Latrobe City (including presentation to Mayor and Councillors and information session to the public – following Councillor Presentation).  The strategy included consideration for:

  • rates coverage
  • rating system
  • timing of implementation of changes
  • outlining operational and communication requirements for the appropriate implementation of the strategy

Result:  MacroPlan undertook a review of key documents (policy and existing rating strategies), analysis of the current economic condition of the municipality, consulted with key stakeholders and put forward options and recommendations for Council to consider.