The village people: (from left) Mernda Retirement Village Action Group members, Emilio Moreno, Adrian de Ross, Bain Simpson and Frank Constantin are standing are up for retirement village residents across the City of Whittlesea. ​

RESIDENTS from retirement villages from across the municipality are calling on the Whittlesea Council to give them access to fair rates.

On behalf of the residents from Mernda, Plenty Valley and Arilla retirement villages, Cr Tom Joseph tabled a petition at last month’s council meeting asking the City of Whittlesea to take action on rate issues.

More than 700 hundred residents signed the petition objecting to the over valuation of properties in retirement villages and requesting a differential rate be struck. Calling it a serious issue, Cr Joseph moved that council receive the petition and requested a retirement village rate review and a report be prepared.

Mernda Retirement Village Action Group members, Adrian de Ross, Bain Simpson, Emilio Moreno and Frank Constantin, told the Whittlesea Review residents are asking council to value their villas at a ‘level that reflects what a similar sized dwelling on a similar sized plot would be worth in a freehold situation.’

“We want to highlight the fact when valuing the property they are not taking into account other factors. It’s a depreciating asset … we can never sell and go back to the community. We’re not complaining about that but it’s a fact the valuer should be considering,” Mr De Ross said.

“We want them to see and understand the villas are overpriced. Valuations have to get correct value set from the beginning.”

“We have no ownership rights and no titles. It’s the only asset you have that’s a depreciating value and you lease it,” Mr Moreno added.

“We want council to value our units at a realistic figure and apply a differential rate.”

Currently, the City of Whittlesea calculates rates based on each property’s Net Annual Value (NAV) and the action group is asking for council to move to the Capital Improved Value (CIV) rating method and vote in favour of a differential rate which will enable council to set different rates in the dollar for different categories of rateable land.

City of Whittlesea Manager Property, Rates and Valuations Gino Mitrione said council has no plans to change the process and will not change them until legislated to do so.

“This is an issue that has been raised on various occasions over the years and there are currently no plans to change the process,” Mr Mitrione said.

“All residences in the City of Whittlesea are valued using the same process in an effort to be fair and equitable. The state government has recently proposed several changes to the way rates are calculated, including requiring all councils to move to assessments based on Capital Improved Value.”

“The City of Whittlesea plans to continue its current rating process while these matters are being discussed at a state level.”

The Mernda Retirement Village Action Group has written to the State Valuer General, local Members for Parliament, Minister of Local Government and opposition leader Matthew Guy.
The group also advised they are considering lodging an appeal with VCAT regarding the rate valuation process.