Stirling rates to go up 1.75% as City remains debt free

Stirling rates to go up 1.75% as City remains debt free

RATES in the City of Stirling have gone up by 1.75 per cent – one of the lowest increases in the metropolitan area, says its mayor Giovanni Italiano.

The increase, tabled for the 2016-17 $307 million budget, was passed at Tuesday’s meeting.

“The adopted 2016-17 Budget seeks to maintain a high level of service in terms of facilities and services in addition to providing for some exciting new infrastructure projects while delivering a fair and reasonable average increase to rates,” said Mr Italiano.

“The City’s average rate at 4.64 cents in the dollar, demonstrates the City’s overall financial stability and management.”

Deputy mayor Keith Sargent said the rate increase of 1.75 per cent was a prudent figure with the City debt free for the past 20 years.

Cr David Michael said he would support the budget but opposed a $540 fee for developers to plant new trees as part of the City’s street tree policy.

“The planting of street trees is purely the responsibility of the City’s Parks Department not the developer,” he said.

WA’s largest council by population will raise a predicted $127.9 million from general rate revenue in the upcoming financial year.

Late rate payments will attract interest of 9 per cent per year. The City earned about $6 million in interest in the past financial year.

It has an estimated surplus of $7.1 million from the last financial year with any difference between the projected amounts to be addressed in the mid-year budget review.

Employee costs for the City sit around $99 million for the coming financial year, an increase from last year’s actual spend of $93 million.

Councillor Terry Tyzack said it was “not acceptable” that the City’s enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) had not been discussed with councillors.

However, corporate services director Ed Hearne said the wage increase was fair and reasonable.

Mr Hearne said the Fair Work Commission was currently assessing the EBA and to date no increases had been applied to inside employees.

Residents who pay their rates in full by August 26 will be entered into the City’s prize draw, which includes the chance to win a Toyota Camry Hybrid Sedan valued at $36,000.