A FREEZE on rates is continuing to divide Stirling councillors.
Three newly elected councillors in 2017 unsuccessfully pushed for no increase to rates ahead of last year’s budget so Cr Karlo Perkov has tried again.
He moved a motion at the February 26 council meeting to keep rates the same for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 financial years because of financial pressures facing households.
“This is not a token motion, it’s become a necessity,” he said.
“Anything less would be out of touch with everyone out there.”
While Cr Karen Caddy agreed community members were “hurting”, she argued it should be considered as part of the usual budget process and they could not dictate what a future council in 2020-21 should do.
Several councillors were worried not increasing rates would make the City unable to achieve community projects and Cr Bianca Sandri warned it could affect service levels for a few years.
Cr Keith Sargent took aim at Cr Adam Spagnolo, who sought the rate freeze last year along with Crs Perkov and Suzanne Migdale prior to the budget but endorsed the eventual 1.4 per cent increase, whom he said had not wanted a rate rise but to add projects to be considered in the budget.
“If councillors are serious about a zero rate rise then they need to come to budget deliberations not adding anything,” he said.
The vote was tied but Mayor Mark Irwin used his casting vote to refuse the motion and instead have it considered during budget deliberations as per the usual process.