City of Vincent likely to be unaffected by State Govt’s road maintenance grants; Stirling could pass extra costs on to ratepayers

City of Vincent likely to be unaffected by State Govt’s road maintenance grants; Stirling could pass extra costs on to ratepayers

WHILE City of Stirling could be forced to pass additional costs on to ratepayers because of State Government cuts to road maintenance grants, City of Vincent is likely to be unaffected.

The proposed $10 million cut to the direct road funds equates to a 42 per cent reduction per local government and comes as a reaction to the former state government’s removal of vehicle registration concession.

City of Vincent in the last financial year received a $85,340 share from the funds but would only be able to access $48,757 in 2017-18.

“In 2017-18 the City’s road program is valued at $1.725 million with $914,000 being directly funded by the City and the remainder from external funds and grant allocations,” Mayor Emma Cole said.

“Despite the disappointing cut in funding, this year’s road program won’t be affected.”

However, Stirling engineering design manager Paul Giamov said the proposed cut could mean passing the cost on to ratepayers or deferring road maintenance works.

“What is equally frustrating is that local governments were not advised of the proposed cuts to Direct Grant funding until after the 2017-2018 annual budgets were set, which left no opportunity to make arrangements for alternative funding,” he said.

“The difference in funding between 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 is $212,289.”

In 2016-17, the City received a direct grant of $504,190 for general road maintenance.

A City of Perth spokeswoman said the impact of the proposed cuts could not yet be determined.

“As the State Government has not handed down its Budget, the City is not in a position to comment until such time as any changes are formally implemented,” the spokeswoman said.

“However, funding from Federal and State Government is critical especially in the context of the CBD, where numerous construction projects inevitably lead to shorter asset life of City infrastructure as Western Australia’s capital city develops.”

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said local governments could choose to direct saving from the restored licence concessions towards road budgets.

WA Local Government Association president Lynne Craigie said local communities would have to wear the costs of the “massive” cuts.

“Councils will be faced with the choice of passing on the additional financial pain to their communities or deferring road maintenance works indefinitely and ultimately putting community safety at risk,” she said.

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