CITY of Fremantle will pass on one of its smallest rate rises in two decades after the 2017-18 budget was approved on Wednesday night.
Councillors ticked off on a rate increase of 1.9 per cent, one of the smallest in recent history and in tune with neighbouring councils Melville and Cockburn, who increased rates by 2 and 1.75 per cent respectively.
Expenditure has jumped from last year, with $101.3 million set to leave the coffers compared to last year’s $90.98 million.
Of that, $20 million has been set aside for capital projects including $10.6 million to start construction on the new Civic/Library and Administration Centre, $1.8 million to begin construction on Fremantle Park’s joint community and sports facility, $1.07 million for the Cantonment Hill redevelopment and $990,000 for the new carpark on the former Stan Reilly site.
Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said the City had reached a good point with the budget, which focused on major investment in the city centre and improvement in the efficiency and effectiveness of services to residents.
“Over the last few years council has concentrated on getting the city centre of Fremantle working again and with a number of new developments and the $270 million Kings Square renewal starting this year, we feel this recovery is now on the right track,” he said.
“This has enabled this budget to have more of a ‘back to basics’ focus.
“It’s a tough economic climate for everyone so in preparing the 2017-18 budget council wanted to ensure we kept rate rises to a minimum but in doing so, not affect service levels and support for the local economy.”
He said the City had placed a big focus on residential services such as verge mowing, rubbish and recycling and greening the area.
“There has also been a big budget boost for greening our city and parklands as we seek to plant more trees and meet our target of 20 per cent tree cover by 2020,” he said.
“An additional $597,000 will be put towards additional staff resources dedicated to maintaining popular community open spaces in the city centre and suburbs.
“We’ve also made sure we continue to provide support to our local economy through the addition of more parking bays in and around the Fremantle city centre and continuing our strong tradition of activating Fremantle via our $1 million world-class festival and events program.”
The Town of East Fremantle expects to pass down its budget on July 18.
Fremantle Rate Rises
2016-17: 3 per cent
2015-16: 5 per cent
2014-15: 5.9 per cent
2013-14: 4.65 per cent
2012-13: 3.5 per cent