Special Charge Scheme
Under Special Charge Schemes, property owners who benefit from works that improve roads, kerb and channel, and footpaths adjacent to their properties, need to contribute financially to the project costs.
A Special Charge Scheme is generally introduced where the works proposed are to the special benefit of a defined group of properties. Benefits could be the reduction of noise and dust, protection from drainage run-off, improved property access, improved road safety, and general improvements to the amenity of the property.
The Local Government Act 1989 provides Council with the ability to introduce a Special Charge Scheme for seeking property owner contributions.
- The need for improvement works is identified either by Council or by the property owner.
- A preliminary survey is sent to affected property owners notifying them of the proposal. The preliminary survey is to gauge whether there is initial support for the proposal and indicate whether Council should proceed with preparing detailed designs, costings and amounts to be contributed. At this stage, Council provides an estimate of what the works are likely to cost.
- Council’s policy on Special Charge Schemes is that a declaration for a scheme may not be made if there are objections from a majority of property owners who will be required to pay the special rate or charge. If this is the case, Council discontinues the process.
- If the majority of property owners approve, Council then proceeds with detailed designs and costings. Corangamite Shire’s policy is that benefitting property owners will not pay more than 65 percent of the total project cost.
- Council confirms works and determines the Maximum Total Levy for each benefitting property.
- A Public Notice of Proposed Declaration is published in local newspapers and a letter of notice is sent to property owners. All Scheme documents, plans, costs and schedules are made available at Corangamite Shire offices for viewing.
- Once a public notice is issued, there is a 28 day period within which any person can make a written submission to Council regarding the proposal.
- Once the 28 day period ends, a report outlining the Special Charge Scheme goes to Council for consideration and final approval, along with any submissions made.
- Once approved by Council, a prescribed notice is sent out to all those liable to pay. Property owners have the option of paying in full or by quarterly instalments (interest is charged). Property owners who receive the notice may lodge an appeal with the Victorian Civil Appeals Tribunal (VCAT) within 30 days.