Ratepayers in Western Australia now have a transparent and accurate means to compare their residential rates with the launch of a new website today.
For the first time, ratepayers in WA will readily be able to compare what they pay in rates with the average residential rates for their Local Government area for the past four financial years.
Launched today, knowyourcouncil.com has been developed by the WA Local Government Association in part in response to the potential to misinterpret the rates information on the State Government’s mycouncil website.
WALGA President Cr Lynne Craigie said the knowyourcouncil.com site was intended to provide ratepayers with clarity on their residential rates and how they are calculated along with information on other key council services.
“In regard to rates, the issue that Councils raised in regard to the recently created State Government site was that it presented information that could easily be misinterpreted by the general public,” Cr Craigie said.
“The rates growth information detailed on the State Government website refers to the annual increase to total rates revenue for each Council which should not be confused as the rates increase for individual households.
“For example on the State Government website the City of Melville is reported as having 40 per cent rates growth for 2014/15 whereas actual residential rates increased on average by just 3.7 per cent.”
Cr Craigie said WALGA commissioned independent financial analysts RJ Back and Associates to provide the rates information featured on knowyourcouncil.com in recognition of their experience and expertise in the sector.
She said in addition to information on rates and how ratepayers can seek redress if they disagree with changes, the site details key operational and contact information for every Local Government including details of Elected Members and senior staff and explanations of accessing core Council functions.
The site, knowyourcouncil.com will also have the facility for each Local Government to provide commentary on the rationale for the annual adjustments to budget requirements and the impact on residential rates. 
It will be supported by the localeye app - available for Apple, Android and Microsoft - which provides mobile search for community facilities and events, a function to report local issues and register for fire alerts and warnings.
Cr Craigie said community awareness for knowyourcouncil.com would be enhanced by state wide television and digital advertising.
“It is important that ratepayers are able to make an accurate assessment of how their residential rates compare on average both in the amount paid and the annual percentage increases to provide a clear understanding of their individual situation,” she said.