Still time for CBD businesses to comment on City Heart Special Rate

Published on 24 February 2015

Businesses within the proposed new boundaries of the CBD precinct are being reminded the closing date for submissions or objections to the new Mildura City Heart Special Rate is Tuesday 10 March 2015.

Mildura City Heart Inc. (MCH) have requested that the boundaries of the CBD be expanded  to include 176 new businesses, with the boundary now running between Seventh and Eleventh Streets and between Madden and Pine Avenues.

Mildura Rural City Council’s CEO Gerard José said it was important for those impacted to make a comment and have their say in the process, with the Mildura City Heart Special Rate looking to raise $550,000 from CBD businesses in the first financial year.

"There’s still some misunderstanding around what the options are in relation to the new Special Rate,” Mr José said.  “There really are two outcomes but they both will have very different and profound impacts on the way Mildura City Heart Inc. will operate in the future.”

If the submissions received are overwhelmingly in favour of the Special Rate, then Council will recommend it be approved and the new rate will commence from 1 July 2015.

Mr José said that even if it is approved, some businesses may choose to take the decision to VCAT and could argue for an exemption from the Special Rate. 

“If businesses were to successfully challenge the Special Rate at VCAT, then their proportion of the Special Rate would then be redistributed across the other remaining businesses,” Mr José explained. 

“It’s not a matter of reducing the $550,000 – that’s the amount MCH has indicated they need to market the CBD. The end amount each business pays will be calculated based on how many businesses are eligible to pay and the Capital Improved Value of that property.

“So the less businesses there are paying the rate, the higher the contribution will be from the remaining businesses.”

If, on the other hand, there is a large number of objections, then Council could opt to not collect the Special Rate on behalf of Mildura City Heart Inc. at all.

“This would have a serious impact on Mildura City Heart’s ability to operate,” Mr José said.  “Business wouldn’t have to pay a Special Rate or pay the current City Heart Differential Rate, which will cease to be collected from 30 June.  But Mildura City Heart Inc. would then be in a difficult position, without any Council or external funding.

“While we certainly don’t want to see Mildura City Heart Inc. fold, the decision about whether or not a business sees value in paying a Special Rate to MCH to market and promote the CBD, comes back to the individual business and property owner.”

Council has only received a handful of submissions so far and said that a non-response would be treated as a vote in favour of the Special Rate. 

“Either way, the current City Heart Differential Rate won’t exist anymore.   So from 1 July there will either be a Special Rate to raise $550,000 for Mildura City Heart Inc. to undertake marketing and promotional activities in the CBD; or there will be no Council collected rate on behalf of Mildura City Heart Inc. and existing CBD businesses will revert to the standard Business Differential Rate in line with all other businesses in Mildura,” Mr José said.

Businesses in the CBD have until 5pm on Tuesday 10 March 2015 to make a submission.

Anyone wanting further clarification on the impact of the Mildura City Heart Special Rate, or wanting to make a submission or objection, should contact Craig McErvale, Revenue Coordinator on (03) 5018 8100.  

ENDS


Media enquiries 
Angela Umback
p) (03) 5018 8689
e) angela.umback@mildura