THE Victorian government wants to cap council rate increases at 1.5 per cent next financial year to limit ratepayer bill shock.
The City of Greater Bendigo's councillors are yet to consider their position on a rate increase, director of corporate performance Andrew Cooney said.
However, he said the council was unlikely to see if it could get a different rate "and has set responsible and fair budgets within the rate cap every year since it was introduced".
The 1.5 per cent rise would be the lowest since rate capping began four-and-a-half years ago but might not stop some people's bills from climbing.
That is because councils only have to make sure total rate rises in their area are capped, not individual bills.
A newly released report into the rate system has found substantial confusion among the public about what the rate cap covers, which is prompting more people to conclude they are not fair, equitable and based on real property values.
It noted that some people had seen their rates skyrocket even as others in their council areas had witnessed drops.
"Farmers, in particular, expressed concern that their rates, impacted by unpredictable increases in land value due to sales in their area, had increased to such a level in a short period that they had been unable to budget for them," the report found.
"This issue was so concerning for rural councils and ratepayers that some advocated for abolishing the current property-based rating system and replacing it with a different revenue base."
The report by a three-member ministerial committee did not back those calls but did recommend introducing a new mechanism to average out property valuations to stop farmer bill shock.
Local government minister Shaun Leane said the government would examine that suggestion.
Victorian Farmers Federation president Emma Germano backed the idea even as she criticised the review for not going far enough.
"Country Victorians pay more in rates than people in the city as both a proportion of their income and the value of their property. Until this fundamental inequity in the system is addressed, it will remain broken," she said.
Bendigo's council has typically raised its rates in line with annual caps of between two and 2.5 per cent each year and charges less for farmers than other business people because they have more land but not necessarily as much annual profit.