Do Murray Bridge residents really pay more in council rates?

We get the calculator out to compare the rural city with neighbouring districts.

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When it comes to council rates, are Murray Bridge residents better or worse off than their neighbours?

Only some councils have published their draft budgets for 2020-21 to date, but we can still get an idea of how the rural city stacks up.

The figures below assume your house is worth about $250,000 and has grown in value by the average for regional South Australia – 2.55 per cent – in the past year.

You can work out your actual household rates bill by multiplying the value of your house by the rate in the dollar below, then dividing by 100.

You can also give feedback on each council’s budget, though if you live in Murray Bridge you only have until 5pm today, ahead of a live-streamed council meeting at 7pm.

With that in mind, let's see how Murray Bridge compares.

Rural City of Murray Bridge

  • Rates bill: $1710.48 (up $63.94)

  • Rate in the dollar: 0.68419c

  • Rate increase: 1.3%

The Murray Bridge council will focus on its riverfront history and tourism precinct, public toilets, playgrounds, footpaths and the Adelaide Road and Swanport Road town entrances in 2020-21. It plans to spend a total of $39 million and return an operating surplus of $1.2 million. Property rates will go up for the first time in three years, though property values have likely risen more quickly than in smaller towns. Give feedback by 5pm today at letstalk.murraybridge.sa.gov.au.

Mid Murray Council

  • Rates bill (Mannum township): $1790.37 (up $101.93)*

  • Rate in the dollar: 0.7161484c*

  • Rate increase: 3.4%

The Mid Murray council will work towards financial sustainability in 2020-21 while spending on the Murray-Coorong Trail, roads and mental health, among other projects. Its spending will total $25.7 million and leave an operating deficit of almost $2.6 million. Rates will rise significantly, as they are forecast to keep doing over the next decade under the council's long-term financial plan. The exact figures quoted above are based on last year’s rate, with this year’s increase added on, and are yet to be confirmed by the council. Give feedback by Wednesday at mid-murray.sa.gov.au.

Coorong District Council

  • Rates bill: $1415 (up $26.23)

  • Rate in the dollar: $360 fixed charge + 0.422c

  • Rate increase: 0%

The Coorong council has committed to save on costs without compromising on services in 2020-21, while still completing projects including new public toilets at Tailem Bend and Meningie's jetty upgrade. It will spend $16.3 million and deliver an operating deficit of $500,000. Rates will be frozen at last year's level, though homeowners' bills are still likely to increase slightly in line with property values. Give feedback by June 12 at coorong.sa.gov.au.

Other councils

At the time of publication, neither the Karoonda East Murray, Alexandrina or Mount Barker councils had put out their draft budgets for 2020-21.

In the previous year, the rates in the dollar charged against homeowners were as follows:

  • Mount Barker: 0.420367c

  • Alexandrina: $390 fixed charge + 0.3954c

  • Karoonda East Murray: 0.4708c

What do you think – are you getting value for money from your council?

Photo: Kelly Sikkema/Unsplash.