CITY of Swan adopted a 2.5 per cent rate rise for its 2017-18 Budget at last night’s council meeting.
The City revised its budget down from the proposed 3 per cent rise after considering the wider economic conditions ratepayers faced.
Swan Mayor Mick Wainwright said council had listened to the concerns of ratepayers and had found budget savings to enable the decrease.
“Before we set our rates we take into consideration economic conditions and the needs of our community,” he said.
“This allows us to create a practical budget, keeping rate rises to a minimum, while still being able to provide the services and facilities needed for our rapidly growing community.”
The rates increase is lower than last year’s 3.25 per cent increase.
CLARIFICATION, July 11*: Cr Wainwright said considering the growth and the increased needs of the community, this year’s budget includes a rate increase of 2.5 per cent, including minimums.
“Using the rating and budget methodology adopted by council, the total rates revenue per differential rate type was calculated on the proposed 2.5 per cent increase to the 2016-17 rate in the dollar,” he said.
“The State Government’s decision to not implement the withdrawal of stamp duty and licence fee concessions on local government vehicles along with other additional savings will allow the City to continue to deliver essential infrastructure, services and programs at the lowest possible cost to our ratepayers.”
The council also adopted a rates hardship allowance at the meeting, which would allow the chief executive Mike Foley to write off interest on outstanding rates and services charges incurred in respect to the 2017-18 financial year in cases of extreme financial hardship.
The City has allocated $55 million to manage recreation and culture, $34.2 million for transport, $26.2 million for community amenities, $9.8 million in education and welfare, $6.4 million in economic services and $6.2 million in law, order and public safety.
Cr Wainwright said the budget focused on boosting infrastructure, creating community hubs and providing quality services.
“In 2017-18 more than $135 million has been set aside for essential services and $104.6 million is budgeted for capital works projects across the City,” he said.
“This includes investment of $20.4 million into building construction and works around our City, $11.1 million towards our parks and reserves and $42.5 million on road reserve infrastructure.”
Howard Dawson from the Swan Valley Ratepayers and Residents Association said the City could have done better than 2.5 per cent.
“They could have had fiscal discipline and given ratepayers respite,” he said.
“The sentiment is there, but a 2.5 per cent increase is just paying lip service. They should have cut rates by 50 per cent and shown leadership and delay non-essential costs.”
*ORIGINAL INFORMATION PROVIDED BY CITY OF SWAN: Councillor Wainwright said there was no increase to minimums.
“Using the rating and budget methodology adopted by council the total rates revenue per differential rate type was calculated on the proposed 2.5 per cent increase to the 2016-17 rates in the dollar,” he said.