Local councils charge rates on all properties in their areas to raise funds to pay for the services and infrastructure they provide.
Councils spend money on a wide range of services and infrastructure, including:
- roads and bridges
- housing planning and development
- waste and recycling
- water and sewer drainage
- sport and recreation
- health and safety.
About 60% of council revenue comes rates. This is the only tax councils are allowed to raise.
Property values and rates
In South Australia, council rates are a form of property taxation and property values play an important part in determining how much each individual rate payer contributes.
As it is a system of taxation, the rates paid may not directly relate to the services used by each rate payer. An 'ad valorem' principle applies. This means that the higher the value of the property, the higher the amount to be paid in the form of rates.
A full explanation of how rates are determined can be found on the website of the Local Government Association of South Australia.
Fact sheets on council rates - Local Government Association of SA