Rates rise ‘rubbished’

Ms Lee (72) said her total rates bill had climbed from $812.61 last year to $1045.69 this year.

‘I live by myself and I don’t have a great deal of rubbish. But this year the waste levy has gone up by $209, with no rebate, and my recycling has increased by $70, with no rebate. The transfer station charge, which I have never had before and I never use, is $147,’ she said.

‘So my total waste levy increase is $426 ” an increase of 135 per cent.’

Ms Lee wants the Shire to introduce a user pays system because she never used the waste transfer station.

‘Even if I owned a car I would not be pulling a trailer to take rubbish to the three recycling areas and I have nothing to put on the roadside verge,’ she said.

‘It’s not fair. It should be user pays.’

Ms Lee said she wanted other pensioners to join with her in refusing to pay the extra waste levy charges.

‘They can take it out of my estate when I’m dead, but I refuse to pay it while I’m still alive,’ she said.

Other Shire of Mundaring pensioners have already raised the changes with the council and are concerned at the spiralling costs for waste removal.

Darlington pensioner Basil McIlhagga and Greenmount resident John Grenfell said they too had been hit by big increases.

‘The action of the council in tampering with the rate base to show station costs of $147 separately has resulted in a loss of state pensioner rebates of $73.50 for every pensioner in Mundaring,’ Mr McIlhagga said.

He said the council’s actions were unacceptable and needed to be reversed.

‘Even the City of Swan give pensioner discounts on rates and we are supposed to be amalgamating with them,’ he said.

‘These increases impact on only one class of ratepayers and is contrary to Mundaring Shire’s advertising that this action would not result in increased costs.

‘It is ironic that a council that complains about government cost increases has given a gift of many thousands of dollars to the government at the expense of pensioner ratepayers.’

Mr Grenfell said he had sent a strongly worded letter to the council.

Mundaring Shire CEO Jonathan Throssell said the changes to waste services were introduced in 2014-15 and included a doubling of the State Government Landfill Levy, resulting in an increased charge being passed on to ratepayers.

Charges for the waste transfer stations were no longer included in the ‘general rate’ amount and were now shown as a separate charge and a 25 per cent discount for pensioners was removed.

Mr Throssell said the Shire provided a comprehensive waste management service that included a weekly waste bin collection, a fortnightly recycling bin collection, an annual verge collection for both green waste and junk, and access to the Shire’s three waste transfer stations.

He said the new fee reflected the full cost recovery in providing the waste collection suite of services and bulk verge collection services, as well as full cost recovery of associated administration costs from those using the service.

Mr Throssell said the waste collection was a fee for service with the fee historically based on full cost recovery.

He said displaying the levy separately allowed transparency and showed the cost of managing waste transfer stations.

However, having it as a separate charge meant it no longer qualified for the State Government rebate of 50 per cent for pensioners, which could be applied only to general rates that were paid in full by June 30.

– Editorial: Page 9