CITY of Swan councillors will vote on a 3 per cent rate rise tonight as part of the City’s 2017-18 Budget.
The rate rise, although lower than last year’s 3.25 per cent, is significantly higher than the City of Kalamunda’s 2 per cent rise, which was adopted last week.
The City’s rates revenue is set to increase by $7.1 million in 2017-18 compared with the previous financial year.
Howard Dawson, from the Swan Valley Residents and Ratepayers Association, said the proposed rate rise exceeded the national and WA CPI.
Mr Dawson said he understood the City suffered from cost pressures but the rate rise did not reflect the economic circumstances that ratepayers were experiencing.
“The City of Swan’s proposal for 2017-18 ignores the CPI,” he said.
“For example the national CPI is currently running at 2.1 per cent and the WA CPI is 1.0 per cent; that means the City is proposing a rate increase of 145 per cent of the national CPI and 300 per cent of the WA CPI. It gets even worse when it is noted that the CPI for the three months to March 31 for WA was 0.0 per cent.”
He said data from Middle Swan, Herne Hill and Upper Swan areas between 2011-15 showed the median weekly household income increased by only 8.3 and 9.4 per cent respectively, but during the same period the City of Swan increased its minimum general residential rate 25.2 per cent and the rates levied per residential property increased by 24.1 per cent.
“Based on just the CPI data, the Swan Valley Residents and Ratepayers Association believes there is a great opportunity for the City to show leadership amongst other councils and also the business community and limit the 2017-18 increase to around CPI, somewhere between 1.0 to 1.5 per cent,” he said.
“Such an increase would also show genuine compassion for the difficult financial situation many of its ratepayers are currently experiencing.
“Our view is that such a limitation in the rates increase should be able to be managed quite easily, for example by cutting discretionary expenditure, delaying non-essential works and making equipment last just that year longer.”
The new City of Kalamunda adopted a 2 per cent rate rise last week, citing it was appropriate given the tough economic conditions faced by WA ratepayers.
City of Swan chief executive Mike Foley said the details of the 2017-18 Budget and rate rise would be discussed at tonight’s meeting.
“While the increase has been advertised as 3 per cent, it has not yet been adopted,” he said. “There is a possibility that a figure less than 3 per cent may end up being approved.”
The City had worked hard to prepare a balanced budget and set a rate increase taking all factors into account.