THE City of Melville’s books are in better condition than any other WA local government, according to the recently launched MyCouncil website.
Melville scored 99 out of a possible 100 in the MyCouncil Financial Health Indicator (FHI), narrowly edging the Cities of Stirling, South Perth and Belmont – as well as the Town of Cambridge – which all received a 97.
FHI is the measurement of a local government’s financial health, calculated using seven financial ratios all local governments are required to report annually.
An FHI of 70 and above indicates sound financial health.
Only five metropolitan local governments – Cockburn (68), Peppermint Grove (61), Subiaco (58), Canning (55) and Mosman Park (49) – failed to reach that mark.
City of Melville chief executive Shayne Silcox said he was pleased that Melville placed as the highest performing council in the State for 2014/15, an improvement on its previous scores of 93 in 2013/14 and 82 in 2012/13.
“The City has had robust financial planning processes in place for many years, and long term financial planning has been a big part of the way we do things,” Dr Silcox said.
“The Local Government Act also requires us to be ‘intergenerational’ which means decisions we make today must consider how we will be positioned to look after our children and grandchildren in the future.
“The 99 FHI score confirms our efforts to be a responsible and sustainable local government.”
Dr Silcox also addressed the City’s reported rate growth of 40.1 per cent in 2014/15, by far the highest in the State, which he said was the result of an administrative change.
“In 2014/15 Melville’s residential properties rates increased 4.9 per cent, however the rate increase indicated on MyCouncil is 40 per cent which doesn’t tell the full story,” he said.
“The variance was mainly due to our efforts to give our older ratepayers some additional financial relief by including their 2014/15 waste charges within general rates for the first time.
“By building both of these components into one charge, eligible seniors and pensioners were able to access State rebates on the waste charges which were previously separate.
“By maintaining our employee costs at a very reasonable level, as reflected in the MyCouncil data, we have also been able to minimise the burden on our ratepayers.”
MyCouncil reveals the City has 443 full-time equivalent staff, eighth most among metropolitan local governments – although neither Perth nor Victoria Park have provided this information.