20 June 2021

Rising house prices and your rates

From the week's Eastern Herald:

Again this week I have read that spiralling house prices will mean that your council rates will spiral as well. Most responsible councils first make a decision about how much money they need to provide the projects that their community wants and then set the rate in the dollar to achieve this. If nearly all house prices have risen 5% in your city in the last 12 months and your council needs a 5% rate rise to achieve the above your rates will go up 5% with no rate in the dollar change. If, however, your council wants to raise the rates by only 2.25% then the rate in the dollar is reduced so that this is the amount you pay. If, however, your valuation has gone up by more than the average you will still pay more and if it has risen less you will pay less. The current dilemma facing Unley is that while house prices have gone up, commercial values have gone down. As a separate rate is set for these properties then achieving an equitable increase for these is not easy. It easy to tell a ratepayer that your rates are up because council must cover even small inflation changes, but a little more difficult to tell a shopkeeper, to whom the landlord has passed on the bill, that the rent is the same (not council’s fault as this will be consistent with the lease agreement) but your rates will increase by way more than the agreed amount. When setting the value of commercial properties the Valuer General relies on income potential by traders sharing this information with them. We hear the argument that why should we worry as it is the landlords that pay when we know they pass the bill directly to their tenants. However, at least one council tells its ratepayers that keeping the rate in the dollar the same is equivalent to there not being a rate rise which as housing prices continue to rise simply isn’t true! Responsible councils lower the rate in the dollar to achieve an agreed rate. These are my personal views and are not necessarily council policy.

13 June 2021

Nursing home approval for Victoria St


The development application by Eldercare to replace St Basil's on Victoria Street was approved by the SCAP late last week. It is my understanding that the developer made minor changes consistent with Council's request that would ensure reasonable open space, reduced overlooking opportunities and the saving of the street tree. This somewhat better than the original proposal.

Southern tunnel as it effects Clarence Park

This map recently published on the DIT website is the best indicator yet of where the South Road tunnels will be located and how they will be accessed. While much of the drilling seems to have happened in Glandore it is clear on the map that there will be a southern direction off- ramp south of the tram line  constructed in Black Forest and an on-ramp constructed in Everard Park. The fate of the Gallipoli underpass and Emerson Crossing bridge appear uncertain.

09 June 2021

Do you know a tree worth listing?


Unley is currently reviewing quite an extensive list of  trees that are listed as significant in our previous Development Plan and were transferred into the new code. Staff are currently reviewing this list and recommending for removal those that no longer exist. They also need you to nominate your favourite trees that are not on the list. To be significant the trunk must measure more that 3m at 1 metre above the ground or associated with a significant event. You can check which trees are already on this list here and you can nominate new trees as you identify them here. Why not put a post on Facebook of a picture of the tree you nominate every time you nominate a tree? Listing will add additional reasons for refusal and make removal almost impossible, even if it dies and doesn't present a danger.