I am writing to you in reference to the City of Bayswater’s budget and rate increase this year.
The City of Bayswater has increased its rates by a reported 4.9 per cent this year.
The actual increase to ratepayers is 6.9 per cent (rates raised go from $41.9 million in 2016-17 to $44.8 million this year, an additional $2.9 million).
The difference is due to changes in the gross rental value of properties, which ratepayers have to wear.
When incomes after tax are rising at a fraction of this amount, this should be of great concern to all ratepayers.
There are two issues contributing to this excessive increase.
Firstly, the council is budgeting to pay $2 million to purchase the Carter block in response to a campaign run by the ‘No Houses in Wetlands’ group.
You can argue about the propriety of this decision but a major issue is that this $2 million is in the budget and will be compounded on forever more with each year’s rate increase.
I can’t imagine that the council will reduce its rate take next year once this expenditure is completed.
In relation to the council’s decision in this matter, it would be interesting if each rate bill carried a separate item billing every ratepayer $80 for the purchase of this block. Can you imagine the outcry?
The second issue is the fact that employee costs been budgeted to increase from $32 million to $34.9 million, an increase of 9 per cent.
Either a lot of staff are getting massive pay increases or there is a lot of empire building taking place.
In fact, there is enough money for both.
I wonder if the City is on the list of ‘high risk councils’ identified by the Department of Local Government recently?