MANDURAH City councillors debated the merits of a 2.4 or 2.9 per cent rates increase at their meeting this week.
Councillors voted 7-5 to adopt the lower figure for advertising with a public consultation period starting this week, and urged the community to have their say.
Residents have until July 22 to put their views via haveyoursaymandurah.com.au
Once the public consultation period is closed, the comments will be considered and included in a report presented to the council, which will then vote on the rates increase before they are adopted into the new budget.
City chief executive Mark Newman said the proposed rate increase should strike a balance between delivering new services and infrastructure and the ability of ratepayers to fund them.
He said the council had worked hard to maintain an increase of 2.4 per cent.
“We are conscious of the need to maintain council assets in sound condition for future generations and ensure sufficient funds are set aside to ensure efficient maintenance and renewal,’’ he said.
The City also faces significant environmental management issues, including the Peel-Harvey Estaury shoreline.
“The population continues to grow rapidly, with a current population of more than 82,000 and a current five-year average growth rate of 3.7 percent (2011-2015),’’ he said.
“This is higher than the current state average and is placing significant and ongoing demand on the City’s services and facilities.”
The City manages assets with a value of nearly $1 billion that grows each year as roads and parks are transferred from new developments.
“As with many other local governments, the City is challenged constantly to balance the need to provide new community infrastructure while maintaining its existing assets in an acceptable condition,’’ Mr Newman said.
During the next year, the City will deliver the following key projects including the completion of the upgrade of the gym, basketball and other dry areas as part of the Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre Redevelopment, construction of a new eastern foreshore seawall, the start of the Novara Foreshore Redevelopment Stage 1 and erosion control projects.
The council will also modernise systems at Mandurah and Falcon libraries, as well as providing a range of festivals and events such as Crab Fest and Stretch Arts Festival.