Special Charge Schemes

Bayview Road, Tooradin Special Charge Scheme (Intention to Declare)

For details view the Public Notice - Bayview Road, Tooradin Special Charge Scheme (Intention to Declare).

Market Lane Special Charge Scheme

In-line with the Ombudsman’s recommendation, Council has published the 17 June 2014 Closed Council report and minutes related to the Market Lane Special Charge Scheme.

Closed Council Report 17 June 2014 (86kb)

Minutes of the City of Casey Closed Council Meeting 17 June 2014 (78kb)

Frequently asked questions

What is a Special Charge Scheme (SCS)?

The Local Government Act 1989 provides Council with the ability to introduce a Special Charge Scheme for seeking landowners who receive a special benefit for a contribution towards infrastructure projects such as roads, footpaths and drainage improvements.

Schemes of this nature have been in place for many years in Local Government where landowners have been involved with road improvement projects.

A Special Charge Scheme is generally introduced where the works proposed are to the special benefit of a defined group of properties.

How does the City of Casey manage a Special Charge Scheme?

The City of Casey has a Special Charge Scheme Policy.  The Policy provides a strategic framework to assist and guide Council to implement a fair, equitable and consistent approach to the construction of appropriate infrastructure such as, but not limited to, roads, kerb and channel, footpaths and drainage through owner contributions as part of a special charge scheme.

You can visit the Special Charge Scheme Policy webpage for further information.

Why does Council require landowners to contribute towards the construction?

The construction of gravel roads requires a significant capital investment. It has been Council’s practice for the cost of the construction of gravel roads to be met by the landowners benefitting from the construction. This has been achieved by two methods:

  • A planning permit condition which requires developers to construct a road. The majority of roads currently built in urban residential areas are funded through this approach. The developer recoups costs from the purchasers of lots in the subdivision.
  • A special charge scheme initiated by Council where the property owners benefitting from the proposed construction contribute to the construction.  Once a scheme is completed for a road, those residents cannot be charged for the same work again.  Casey will fully fund the reconstruction of this road following its life period.

Why should you be involved in the proposal?

Your property is identified as receiving ‘special benefit’ from the works i.e. a benefit that is over and above that obtained by persons who have not been included in the scheme.

Properties abutting the works will generally receive special benefits to access and amenity such as reduction of noise and dust, improvements to the collection of stormwater drainage, improved property access, improved road safety, and a general property amenity improvement.

How are Schemes initiated for the Municipality?

Special Charge Schemes are often initiated through the receipt of petitions from the local residents – generally concerns about safety and current road surface conditions and associated drainage are raised through this process.

Alternatively, Council identifies sections of unsealed roads as strategic priorities and funds these through their annual Unsealed Roads Program, in conjunction with the property owners included within the extents of the scheme.

The City of Casey has adopted various methods of attributing contributions to deliver infrastructure within their municipality. Councils are independent and make independent decisions and policies for their own particular municipalities.

How does Council implement a Special Charge Scheme?

Every scheme is considered independently and the typical steps to implement a Special Charges Scheme is as follows but the steps may vary depending on the scheme:

  1. A petition or joint letter is tabled at a Council meeting with residents requesting a road to be built or the road is a strategic priority for Council.
  2. A Public Meeting is held with all property owners invited that may be included in a Special Charge Scheme (SCS)
  3. Council may then undertake a Survey on the proposed Special Charge Scheme (SCS) of all potentially affected property owners on their Interest in proceeding with the scheme.
  4. If a survey is undertaken, the survey results are reported to Council and Council may then choose to proceed with implementing a Special Charge Scheme or not.
  5. If proceeding with SCS, the detailed design of the proposed works begins and the SCS developed further.
  6. Council would then give “Notice of Intention to Declare a SCS” at a Council meeting.
  7. The “Notice of Intention to Declare a SCS” is issued to all affected landowners and the “Notices of Intention to Declare a SCS” is advertised, calling for submissions and objections to the SCS.  Submitters can request (or their representative) be heard in front of Council.
  8. Council must abandon the SCS if the majority of property owners object, if Council is raising over two thirds of the costs of the works through the SCS.  Council can choose to proceed irrespective of the number of objectors if Council is raising less than two thirds of the costs of the works through the SCS.
  9. Council will consider all submissions and hear all the verbal submissions.  Verbal submissions are typically 5 minutes and then questions.
  10. After considering the submissions, Council Declares, Modifies or Abandons Scheme
  11. Notices of the Special Charge Scheme declaration are issues to all properties with the Scheme and the Special Charge Scheme is then applied to land.
  12. Property owners have 28 Days to appeal to the Victorian Administrative Appeals Tribunal (VCAT) on the grounds prescribed in the Local Government Act following the declaration of the SCS.  VCAT is independent of Council.
  13. VCAT will schedule a hearing and receive all the information regarding the SCS, if appeals are lodged.  At the hearing, VCAT will typically hear from Council representatives in support of the scheme, the appellants and/or their representative and also possibly expert witnesses for either party.
  14. VCAT will decide to uphold, quash or modify the Scheme
  15. Council will proceed to public tender and build the works proposed in the SCS, if VCAT upholds the SCS or there are no appeals to VCAT
  16. The notice for payment will be sent to all property owners in the scheme when construction begins onsite.

Who is notified of a proposed Special Charge Scheme?

Council will notify all affected property owners via mail and may hold a public meeting advising interested parties of:

  • the conceptual design;
  • Scheme procedures and implementation;
  • criteria of the special benefit;
  • method of apportionment;
  • estimated engineering and administration costs;
  • methods of payment; and
  • variations and grounds for submission and objections.

Council may also survey property owners to determine their support towards the scheme.

Council may choose to proceed without majority support in recognition of the benefit to abutting properties and the broader community and Council is contributing two thirds of the cost.

After Council resolves the intention to declare a Special Charge Scheme, a public notice will be published in the local press inviting submissions and objections from all interested parties.

How does Council contribute towards the works and how are costs apportioned to landowners?

Under Council’s Special Charge Scheme Policy the benefitting property owners contribute to the construction of local roads.  Council recognizes where there is a wider community benefit (to users other than to the residents living there) then Council applies a capped contribution to each potential lot.  Examples of these contributions are below:

  • Full Contribution
    The property owners fully fund the road construction if your property is identified as receiving a special benefit in relation to access and amenity and this access and amenity is primarily benefitting the properties that use the road and not the wider community.  For example your property is a typical residential street or on a “No Through” road, you will be required to contribute the full cost of your apportionment to the Special Charge Scheme.
  • Capped Contribution
    If your property is identified as receiving a special benefit in relation to access and amenity, but there is also a wider community benefit, you will be only be required to contribute a capped amount to the Special Charge Scheme.  The capped amount to date is $11,016 (as at 1st July 2016) per lot.  This capped amount is reviewed on an annual basis.

How does Council determine if a Special Charge Scheme will go ahead?

After Council issues a “Notice of Intention to Declare a Scheme” calling for submissions and objections.

Council must abandon the Special Charge Scheme if the majority of property owners object, if Council is raising over two thirds of the costs of the works through the Special Charge Scheme. 

Council can choose to proceed irrespective of the number of objectors if Council is raising less than two thirds of the costs of the works through the Special Charge Scheme.

Following consideration of all submissions (written and verbal) Council may resolve to:

  • abandon the scheme; or
  • undertaking significant modifications to the originals scheme which would require the process to recommence; or
  • undertake minor modifications to the original scheme, “declare and levy” the special charge and proceed by serving formal notice; or
  • proceed without any modification to the original declaration, “declare and levy” the special charge and proceed by serving formal notice.

The authors of all submissions and property owners affected by the proposed scheme will be notified regarding Council’s resolution.

Property owners have the right to appeal Council’s decision to “declare and levy” the special charge to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Government/Private Roads

Since 1989, the Local Government Act was revised which brought about changes to Special Charge Schemes.

Under these changes, the status of the road (private subdivisional roads or government roads) is irrelevant and owner contributions are required on all unsealed road to have them constructed to current Casey standards.

Selling your property

If you are selling a property, you will need to obtain a Land Information Certificate. The Certificate is required so that the correct settlement can be made. Commonly, your solicitor or conveyancer will apply for and obtain this information from local government authority.

Under section 229 of the Local Government Act 1989, Council must issue Land Information Certificates on application. The Land Information Certificate provides information regarding valuations of the particular property, the amount of rates charged and arrears/interest if applicable. If there are specified flood levels the applicant will also be notified.

A separate certificate regarding building regulations can also be applied for.

What are the GST implications for Schemes?

Special Charge Schemes are GST free to the landowner.

Special Charge Repayment Options

City of Casey currently offers property owners the choice of repaying their apportioned special charge by either lump sum payment at the time construction commences or through quarterly instalments over a number of years (in accordance with the Special Charge Scheme Policy). Interest rates will be applied to each instalment repayment following the first one.  The interest rate is variable and reviewed annually.

Council has a Hardship Policy in position which can assist property owners in making their repayments - each case is looked at individually for suitability and must be applied for by the property owner, via Council’s Property & Rates Department.

Can you object to the proposal?

Yes:

  1. Property owners can object to the special charge scheme when submissions and objections are called following the “Notice of Intention to Declare a Special Charge Scheme”
  2. If Council resolves to declare and levy the special charge, a person may then apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for a review of Council’s decision.  VCAT Application Fees are available on VCAT’s website.

Further information

For further information please contact the Engineering and Asset Management Department on 9705 5200.