Anger over above-CPI rates rise

Don Blundell-Wignall with MLA Lisa Baker. d423881
Don Blundell-Wignall with MLA Lisa Baker. d423881

The council endorsed an average rate rise of 3.8 per cent in June after Councillor Terry Kenyon moved to lower the proposed 4.5 per cent increase in the draft budget.

The budget allowed for $1 million to be set aside for reform, which included an expected grant of $850,000 from the State Government.

Maylands resident Don Blundell-Wignall said rates had gone up more than the consumer price index, with the city wanting to make it easier for the State Government to implement its amalgamations.

‘That’s despite the fact that when the original announcement was made, the State Government said it would not cost the ratepayers anything,’ he said.

‘As ratepayers we were never consulted and it’s obvious the council doesn’t expect to get the State Government grant because they’ve put the money aside in anticipation of it.’

The 88-year-old said the money could be better utilised to fix ‘disgraceful’ footpaths across the city.

Mayor Sylvan Albert said it was a prudent budget and that the rate increase represented the minimum deemed necessary to accommodate the cost increases and ensured service levels demanded by residents.

‘It takes into account the higher cost of utilities and energy, which increased more than inflation, as well as a contribution towards the cost of local government reform and the impact of the reduction in funding from the state and federal governments,’ he said.

‘It would be imprudent not to make some allowance knowing that the reform is going ahead and we have to deliver on those reforms, while also maintaining the current level of all our services.’

Maylands MLA Lisa Baker said ratepayers were rightfully outraged.

‘Residents are disappointed that the City of Bayswater did not conduct a survey of ratepayers about the costs of amalgamations,’ she said.

‘Rather than standing up for its residents to ensure the State Government backs its promise to fund the forced amalgamations, the city has rolled over and accepted defeat by footing the Bill.

‘Not once has the mayor publicly come out and commented on the fact that amalgamations have been forced on the local governments, and it now appears he is more than happy to make ratepayers pay the price.’