Fees and Charges
 Rates Explained 
Payments
Land Valuation System
 Pensioners
Interest Information

Fees and Charges

pdf_logo  Fees and Charges for 2021/2022  820 KB

Rates Explained

Your annual rates notice is made up of ordinary rates and charges.

Rates

Rates are one of the sources of income for council. Council collects rates to help fund local infrastructure and services. Rates are calculated by multiplying a rate in the dollar (set by Council) against the land value of a property (determined by the Valuer Generals Department). This is called ad valorem rating (“at the value of”).

Council can use:

  • Ad valorem rates on their own
  • Ad valorem with minimum amounts. Where minimum amounts are used, you calculate the ad valorem amount and if it is below the minimum, the amount payable is taken upwards to the amount of the minimum rate. The Minister sets the limit for the minimum rate each year.
  • Ad valorem with base amounts. A base amount is a flat amount which an ad valorem rate must be combined with. You cannot have base amounts alone. Base amounts cannot exceed 50% of the total income from the category or subcategory.

Each year the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) tells councils how much they can increase their rates, based on how much the cost of things that councils typically use has gone up (Local Government Cost Index). This is called the rate peg. The rate peg sets the maximum increase in each council’s general income for the financial year. It does not apply to domestic waste, water or sewerage charges. Councils have discretion to determine how to allocate the rate peg increase between ratepayer categories. As long as its general income remains within the set maximum increase, councils may increase categories of rates by higher or lower than the rate peg.

Ordinary rates apply to all rateable properties. Properties that are exempt under section 555 and 556 of the Local Government Act 1993 (“the Act”), do not pay ordinary rates. Examples include Crown Land, schools, hospitals and churches. The income from ordinary rates can be used for any council service, except those prohibited by the Act. E.g. income from ordinary rates cannot be used to fund domestic waste management services (s504 of the Act).

Before making an ordinary rate, the council must have declared each parcel of rateable land in its area to be within one of the following categories:

- Farmland
- Residential
- Mining
- Business

Charges

Council makes an annual charge for the following services:

- Water supply services
- Sewerage services
- Domestic waste management services

These charges are flat amounts with no relationship to land value. No type of charge raises extra money for a council, beyond providing future funding for the service it directly relates to. Income from domestic waste management service charges must be put back into domestic waste. The same goes for sewer and water income.

Water Supply

Water charges are set to cover the cost of providing water, using a dual-pricing system. An access charge (with differing rates for both residential and commercial properties) as well as a usage fee, per kL of water used. The access charge is calculated based on the size of the meter. The larger the meter, the larger the access charge. Water access charges are levied on all properties to which the service is available, regardless of whether water is connected to the property. If no meter is connected, the default rate for one 20mm service is charged.

Residents in the villages do not pay water usage charges. They do not have access to potable water, but non-potable water is available, subject to the payment of a non-potable water access charge. All properties within the Nymagee, Euabalong and Euabalong West water supply area are charged an access fee, regardless of whether water is connected to the property. There is a connected fee and unconnected fee. Connected properties within the Mount Hope water supply area are charged an access fee.

Sewerage Charge

Council sets sewer charges on a cost recovery basis. An access charge applies to each parcel of residential land where the service is available. The charge is payable regardless of whether the service provided is used.

Sewerage usage charges apply to all non-residential properties. The charge applies to each kilolitre of sewerage discharged to the sewerage system. Unless the volume of sewerage is directly metered, a sewer discharge factor is applied to the metered water consumption to calculate the volume discharged. The pricing system is based on water industry best-practice to ensure the fair distribution of the cost of providing services across the community, removing the occurrence of low users subsidising higher users, and to provide more appropriate usage indicators to enable you to manage your water usage more efficiently.

Sewerage service charges are allocated to non-residential customers based on:

- The water meter size
- Use of the service (i.e. office, workshop, laundromat) which is used to calculate the sewerage discharge factor
- Water consumption 

The invoice is calculated on a quarterly basis, by using the following formula which has been adopted from the Liquid Trade Waste Regulation Guidelines 2009:

SDF x (AC + (C x UC)

Where:

SDF = Sewer Discharge Factor
AC = Annual Charge Based on Meter Size
C = Water Consumption
UC = Usage Charge

If calculation is less than minimum quarterly charge, then the quarterly charge is payable for the quarter.

The sewerage discharge factor represents the percentage of the metered water consumption, which is discharged to the sewerage system from a non-residential property. The sewerage discharge factor is based on business activity and is determined by the Liquid Trade Waste Regulation Guidelines 2009.

Domestic Waste Management

Section 496 of the act makes it mandatory for councils to raise an annual domestic waste management service charge for every residential assessment where the service is available. The charge is to cover the provision of the service and the upkeep and future maintenance of the facilities. Vacant land is charged a lower rate.

Rateable assessments within 5kms radius of the following locations are charged an annual fee as they have access to a tip: Euabalong Post Office, Euabalong West Public School, Nymagee Police Station, Mount Hope Hotel and Canbelego intersection of Edward and Coronga Street.

To view the domestic waste collection map for Cobar, please click here.

Water Usage Charges

Council uses a three-tier water usage charge system. The charges for 2020/2021 are:

- 0 to 550kL: $2.95 per kL
- over 550kL: $5.60 per kL

Water is billed quarterly. Bills are generally issued in June, September, December and March.


Land Valuation System

The Valuer General is an independent statutory officer appointed by the Governor of NSW to oversee the valuation system.

The Valuer General is responsible for:

  • the provision of fair, accurate and consistent land values for rating and taxing purposes;
  • determination of compensation following the compulsory acquisition of land; and
  • the provision of specialist valuation and property advice to government. 

Visit the NSW Government's Land & Property Information website to view a variety of publications including guides, newsletters and fact sheets associated with the issue of Notices of Valuation.

Alternatively if you wish to view the current 2020 newsletter from the NSW Valuer General please click here.

Payments

Rates notices are issued by 1 August each year in accordance with section 562 of the Act. Rates and charges may be paid by a single instalment, payable by 31 August, or by quarterly instalments which are payable as follows:

Instalment One                 Due 31 August
Instalment Two                 Due 30 November
Instalment Three              Due 28 February
Instalment Four                Due 31 May

Council will issue an instalment notice at least 30 days prior to each due date. Interest as per Cobar Shire Council Fees and Charges will be charged on each instalment or any part that remains outstanding after the due date.

Money paid to Council in respect of rates or charges is to be applied in the order in which they became due. I.e. the payments must come off the oldest amounts first (s568 of the Act).

Payment Options

BPAY

If your financial institution offers BPay, you can use the BPay system to pay your account by either the telephone or the internet. You should contact your financial institution, or alternatively visit the BPay website for more information.

When making a payment using BPay, you will be required to enter the biller code and reference number. These are shown next to the BPay logo on the front of your notice.

Remember that your Rates Notice has a different BPay reference number to your Water Notice.

DIRECT DEBIT

Ratepayers can elect to pay rates and water accounts from their nominated bank accounts by Direct Debit. Direct Debits can be arranged by contacting Council on 02 6836 5888 or by downloading and completing the Direct Debit Request form here.

Completed application forms can be sent to the Council Offices or emailed to Council (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). Before completing the Direct Debit application form please read the Direct Debit Request Service Agreement.

CREDIT CARD PAYMENTS OVER THE PHONE

Pay by phone using Visa or Mastercard, by calling us on 02 6836 5888.

AT COUNCIL OFFICES

Payments can be made over the counter using cash, cheque, eftpos and Cobar’s own currency, Cobar Quids.

BY MAIL

Detach the payment slip on your notice and mail it with payment to:

Cobar Shire Council
PO Box 223
COBAR NSW 2835

CENTREPAY

Use Centrepay to make regular deductions from your Centrelink payment. Centrepay is a voluntary and easy payment option available to Centrelink customers.

Go to servicesaustralia.gov.au/centrepay for more information on how to set up your Centrepay deductions.

Pensioners

Pension Rebates

If you have a pensioner concession card, you may be eligible for a rebate on your rates. To be eligible, the rateable property must be your principal place of residence and you must be solely or jointly liable for the rates and charges on the property. Pensioners who become eligible after the date of service of the rate notice are entitled to a reduction, proportionate to the number of whole quarterly periods remaining in the rating year.

If you think you may be eligible for the rebate and it is not shown on your rate notice, please visit the Council Office or phone us on 02 6836 5888, or read the Pensioner Rebate Policy.

Payment Arrangements

Council recognises that from time to time, ratepayers are not able to meet mandatory instalment amounts by the due dates prescribed in section 562 of the Act. If a ratepayer is unable to pay an amount owed by the due date, they are encouraged to contact Council as soon as practicable to make alternative payment arrangements.

For information about financial services read Council's Rate Recovery and Financial Hardship Policy.

Support Services

There are several support services available to help ratepayers resolve financial issues and/or negotiate arrangements to manage debts. Community legal centres and financial counsellors assist people to resolve debt issues by providing free, tailored expert advice. Solicitors from these centres or Legal Aid can provide legal assistance to ratepayers. Financial counsellors provide a mix of social, financial and paralegal advice and advocacy on debt issues.

Support services include:

- National Debt Help Line

  • 1800 007 007
    ndh.org.au

- CatholicCare Wilcannia-Forbes

  • 02 6850 1777
    ccwf.org.au

- Lifeline Central West Inc

  • 1300 798 258
    www.lifelinecentralwest.org.au

- Money Smart

- Legal Aid Service

- Community Legal Centres NSW