THE maximum annual Emergency Services Levy (ESL) could double for some north coast households in their next rates notice.
The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) is reviewing category boundaries for parts of Jindalee, Alkimos and Eglinton following the opening of Butler Fire Station in 2015 and urban expansion.
DFES corporate services executive director Frank Pasquale said the department and City of Wanneroo had discussed extending the Metropolitan Fire District to include parts of those suburbs, reclassifying them from category three to one.
“Properties within the Metropolitan Fire District are protected by a network of career fire and rescue service brigades with fulltime firefighters and SES volunteers,” he said.
“These proposed changes reflect the enhanced fire and emergency services response available to the area.”
Mr Pasquale said DFES was still evaluating the proposed changes, which the Wanneroo council had no objection to at its meeting last month.
He said the Emergency Services Minister Fran Logan would need to declare any changes for them to take effect from July 1.
In 2017-18, the minimum rate for residential properties was $75 while the maximum ranged between $75 for category five and $395 for category one.
If the change proceeds for affected households in Jindalee, Alkimos and Eglinton, the maximum levy would double from $197 in category three under the current rates.
While the minister has not yet declared the levy rates for 2018-19, a recent State Government statement said the metropolitan rate would increase by $28 and the other four regional categories would increase by between $8 and $17.
The increase, due to be announced in the 2018-19 State Budget, is proposed to fund a Rural Fire Division.
Mr Pasquale said funds collected through the levy supported fire and emergency services, including career, volunteer and bush fire brigades.
It also supports SES units, volunteer marine rescue groups and aerial services used by DFES during emergencies.
“The ESL also funds volunteer training, fire investigations, building inspections, community safety programs, emergency management planning and DFES’ corporate support costs,” he said.
“ESL charges are based on the available fire and emergency services in an area, so boundary changes reflect this and ensure that ESL charges throughout the state are equitable.
“All ESL funds collected by local government are remitted to DFES and can only be spent on the delivery of fire and emergency services.”
A report to the Wanneroo council last month said the categories reflected the services available in an area, which ranged from career fire crews servicing category one to volunteer bush fire brigades servicing category five.
The council unanimously supported a staff recommendation that it had no objection to the changes, which also highlighted that Yanchep households fell into category four, where the maximum fee was $138 this year.