Rates hot topic in merger talks

New figures show Mundaring last year charged an average rate of $2425 on the 15,600 properties in the shire, compared with an average of $2318 for the City of Swan and $2095 in the Shire of Kalamunda.

Kalamunda is worried any merger with another local government would lead to an increase in its relatively low rates, while Mundaring argues amalgamation would not necessarily translate into lower rates for its residents.

Mundaring CEO Jonathan Throssell this week defended the council’s decision to charge higher rates than many other local governments in the eastern metropolitan region.

‘We raise the required rates to fund our activities and works, plus to place funds into reserves to be drawn down in future years,’ he said.

Mundaring might also have a different approach to debt than surrounding councils because it tended to finance much of its activities from rates rather than loans, he said.

‘Providing an average for rates is not a good indicator, given the difference in property sizes across local governments,’ Mr Throssell said.

A better comparison would be to show rates for a particular property size, he said. Mr Throssell confirmed shire representatives had met Kalamunda and Swan officials to discuss amalgamation ptions.

‘We have discussed ‘