Council's three strikes
By Andrew Gunter *
HINDSIGHT (“Cinema plan stalled”, Leader, November 14) has confirmed what we suspected at the time.
The first mistake by the former Moonee Valley Council commissioners was to close the Moonee Ponds Market. We lost fresh food retail variety.
Their second mistake was to sell the market site. We gained the dustbowl.
And their third mistake was to change the rating system inherited from Essendon and Keilor councils — Site Value rating — to Capital Improved Value rating.
CIV has assisted the owner of the market site to hold it undeveloped: its CIV revaluation was made as low as possible. SV would not have given the owner a rates reduction for removing improvements and leaving the site underutilized.
CIV makes land banking attractive. The market site is Exhibit 1. All those vacant residential blocks in East Keilor, Avondale Heights and elsewhere, getting themselves a low CIV revaluation and giving the rest of us higher rates, are Exhibit 2.
CIV also adds to the cost of building, including environmental retrofitting of buildings, by imposing a higher CIV revaluation with resulting higher rates. SV does not impose higher rates on owners that build, renovate and retrofit.
Council can and should tackle the issue (using the policy levers at its disposal) in its next Rating Strategy Review.
* Letter in the Moonee Valley Leader, Nov.21, 2011, p.24, printed beside a photo by Tony Gough with the caption “The former Moonee Ponds Market is now a car park.” Emphasis added.