Belmont rates crawl up

The City of Belmont has fired the next shot in the amalgamation wars.
The City of Belmont has fired the next shot in the amalgamation wars.

The increase is more than 2 percentage points below Kalamunda’s average rate hike of 4.7 per cent ” and even less than the current inflation rate of 2.75 per cent.

Supporters who want Kalamunda to retain its autonomy have often stated rate increases would be more likely if the Shire were to merge with Belmont.

The Save Kalamunda Shire Action Group website says: ‘Rate increases will occur ” modelling shows an average rate increase for the Shire of Kalamunda for a medium property being $300-plus per year’.

But Belmont’s 2.5 per cent rise ” the lowest in the Perth metropolitan area ” negates that threat. In 2013-14, the Shire of Kalamunda boosted its average rates by 7 per cent, compared with Belmont’s 3 per cent.

Shire CEO Rhonda Hardy blamed the council’s latest 4.7 per cent hike, which will cause rates to rise from $400 to $460 for a standard residential property, on a flow-on effect from the State Government.

‘The increase primarily reflects the significant increases applied by the State Government, which saw the landfill levy on putrescible waste increase from $28 to $55 per tonne and inert waste increase from $8 to $40 per tonne, which comes into effect on January 1, 2015,’ she said.

Belmont Mayor Phil Marks said the City’s ‘sensible’ rate rise was another reason it believed amalgamation with any other council would not be in the local community’s best interests.

‘Belmont has consistently imposed rate rises generally in line with inflation over many years, which means more manageable increases for the community. The City’s low rate increase is testament to an efficient organisation that employs sound financial management to benefit our community, which we believe is very |important,’ he said.

Among the highest metropolitan rate hikes next financial year was the 10.5 per cent residential rate adopted by the Town of Victoria Park.

The Town introduced differential rates for the first time this financial year and previously had rate rises of 8 per cent, but maintains it is still among the lowest-rating local governments.

The shires of Mundaring will raise rates by 7.3 per cent and Serpentine-|Jarrahdale and Murray by 7 per cent, South Perth 6.96 per cent and Rockingham by 6.9 per cent.

Rises in the cities of Gosnells and Joondalup have been contained to just 3 per cent, while Belmont is at the bottom of the list at 2.5 per cent.