Wanneroo Council rejects pensioners’ petition against annual rates increase

Stock image.
Stock image.

WANNEROO Council has rejected a petition objecting to rates increases from Mindarie pensioners.

The council considered a report on the 98-signature petition, lodged in September, at its October 16 meeting.

It noted the mayor had written to the valuer general on Harbourside Village residents’ behalf asking it to ensure equity and parity for valuations of their properties.

The petition objected to the rates increase for 2018-19 and separation of the waste service fee from the overall rates.

According to the report, the City opted to separate the waste fees to show “greater transparency in costs” and fully recover waste management costs rather than subsidise them.

The $410 waste fee included an increase in the Mindarie Regional Council gate fees, calculated to be about $2.2 million including a 7 per cent increase in the State Government’s landfill levy.

“With the waste service fee split from rates in 2018-19, the total State Government rebate claimable by pensioners in some instances has been reduced as the rebate only applies to general rates and the Emergency Services Levy,” the report said.

The impact on Harbourside residents varied, with 55 of the 149 rateable properties experiencing a $128 reduction in the rebate.

Another 53 had a $76 reduction in their rebate, while six had a $14 reduction.

For another 30, the rebate increased by $4, and there were two residents who had a $775 increase in their rebate and two with a $741 rebate increase.

There was also one deceased estate that lost its $905 rebate and six non-pensioner properties that were not eligible for the rebate.

The report said the City did give certain pensioner groups a discount on waste service fees, which was $98 for rates of up to $971 on pensioner-owned residential properties and $45 for rates between $971 and $1382.

It did not provide a discount for properties paying a higher level of rates and those were required to pay the full $410 waste fee.

“At Harbourside Village, 108 pensioner-owned properties received a discount on the waste service fee for 2018-19 of $45,” the report said.

“The total discount for 2018-19 for this village is $4860.”

Written questions from a Wanneroo resident regarding the rates increase were also submitted to the August council meeting, asking whether elected members were full aware of the impact the rating method change would have on pensioners.

Corporate strategy and performance director Noelene Jennings said the impact on pensioners was “discussed at length” and elected members introduced the $98 discount on the waste charge for pensioners.

“Pensioners have the option of paying their rates weekly, fornightly, monthly or any other frequency that suits their budget,” she said.

“These payment arrangements do not attract interest or fees.”