THE City of Mandurah officers and councillors need to decide the City budget based on essential spending compared with discretionary and deferrable spending ” needs, not wants.
The State Treasurer has inflicted on ratepayers a 4.5 per cent Synergy, 6.5 per cent water use cost and 25 per cent vehicle licence increases. The Federal Treasurer has added among other things increased medical costs, reduced family assistance and pension-indexed payments, including six monthly non-payments for the unemployed.
It was reported that reported wages have increased at the lowest rate for 15 years, well below the CPI level. Unemployment is expected to increase and vacancies have reduced 7.5 per cent in the last year. Mandurah has high unemployment rates, housing loan defaults and bankruptcies.
The City is proposing a 4 per cent rate increase, while the chief executive reported issues of payments by ‘delinquent’ rate defaulters last year. What a word to use to describe ratepayers who experience issues paying rates.
The Mandurah Performing Arts Centre entertainment venue costs were subsidised by $450,000 last year and this cost is non-essential for ratepayers. They could live quite easily without this cost and the centre could be closed until after the Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre is completed in two or three years.
Moreover, the City can cease services to RAAFA villages, as they do not pay annual rates. This will save a further estimated $450,000 for ratepayers.
The Old Bridge replacement and costs could be deferred; all ratepayers can easily live a few more years with the bridge as it is.
The costs of recreation park maintenance are non-essential for ratepayers, apart from any public safety tree risks. Also, the costs for shoreline and coastline erosion damage repairs can be deferred a few years.
I would expect all of the above savings could keep City rates increases to 2 or 3 per cent to reduce the prospects of further alleged ‘delinquent’ rate defaulters.
GRAHAM McPHERSON, Mandurah