Harrisdale and Piara Waters residents’ anger rising as rates set to go up

Harrisdale and Piara Waters residents’ anger rising as rates set to go up

HARRISDALE and Piara Waters ratepayers are angry at plans by the City of Armadale to increase their average rates and charges to $2657, prompting calls for the suburbs to secede from the City.

The increase includes $155.32 for a specified area rate (SAR) to maintain parks and gardens, although councillors will consider reducing it to $60 at next Monday’s council meeting.

The special city strategy committee also recommended the council adopt a 3 per cent rate increase for its 2016-17 budget at a meeting next Monday.

Residents have expressed their frustration about the increasing costs on a community Facebook forum that has more than 1000 members.

The City said the SAR was needed to maintain and enhance public open space and provide “increased and improved” service levels.

Armadale Mayor Henry Zelones said the City was “very concerned” about any moves from Harrisdale and Piara Waters residents to secede and was working with residents to allay their concerns.

“I understand their concerns and we are working to address those concerns,” he said.

“We recently met a deputation of residents who put the issues to officers and councillors.”

A statement released by the City said Harrisdale and Piara Waters had some of the best high quality public open spaces in the City.

“The value of their properties are higher than other areas in the City,” it said.

“Homes in Harrisdale are nearly doubling the rental income that a home in Camillo would expect, which again value adds to these properties.”

The proposed rates and charges based on an average $18,220 gross rental value for all properties in the City is $2099.76, compared to an average $22,445 GRV for Harrisdale and Piara Waters of $2657.82.

The GRV is set by Landgate every three years. The property value in Piara Waters has grown by 126 per cent in the past five years.

“The suburbs are established in an environmentally sensitive area which requires a great deal of asset maintenance and management,” the statement said.

The City received 276 submissions from residents in the two new suburbs as part of its budget consultation process.

Most concerns centred on high rates for Piara Waters and Harrisdale and the City generally, compared to other councils.

The Harrisdale Residents Group raised the issue with the City recently and is behind a possible move to start a petition.