RATES will rise by 3.1 per cent in Shire of Mundaring after councillors on Tuesday unanimously adopted the 2018-19 budget and long-term financial plan.
The rise consists of a 2.6 per cent average increase for residents, plus a 0.5 per cent yield for the Shire in forecast growth from new dwellings.
Shire President John Daw was confident ratepayers would be satisfied with the budget because it reflected priorities identified in the Shire’s community plan.
“We have continued our commitment to transitioning a lower rating profile, which was established in the lead up to the 2017-18 budget,” he said.
Councillors rejected a 4 per cent rate hike last year and approved a 3 per cent rise after sending the finance team back to the drawing board.
Rates Mundaring convenor John Bell applauded the council for identifying savings in the past two years, but said the rate increase was “higher than many”.
“Staff costs of about $19 million a year and high overheads remain a key issue because each local government is run like a separate entity,” he said.
“The City of Swan recently invested $7 million in new IT… why couldn’t Mundaring Shire benefit from this improvement?
“The lack of desire to centralise services makes no financial sense and there seems to be a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.”
He said the Shire was identified as having no plan to outsource any service other than legal in a local government audit by PwC.
The Shire’s long-term financial plan provides for the creation of an invasive weed team to improve the appearance of roadsides and public spaces, and improvements to Darlington Skate Park, and Mundaring and Chidlow ovals.
Cr Daw said the plan also allowed for more library staff after a notable increase in the use of the Shire’s two libraries.
The 2018-19 budget is available on the Shire’s website at www.mundaring.wa.gov.au.
Of the 17 metropolitan councils to advertise proposed rate increases, only cities of Melville (0.9 per cent) and Perth (0.8 per cent) plus Town of Cottesloe (0.7 per cent) were below the rate of inflation.
City of Swan will advertise a proposed 1.8 per cent increase in rates, 0.7 per cent lower than last year.
Other local government proposed rate increases include:
City of Kalamunda 2.1%
Town of Victoria Park 3%
Town of Cottesloe 0.7%
City of Kwinana 3.5%