Rockingham Mayor says rate rise needed to support rapidly growing population

City of Rockingham Mayor Barry Sammels.
City of Rockingham Mayor Barry Sammels.

THE PROPOSED City of Rockingham rates will help meet the community’s growing needs, according to Mayor Barry Sammels.

Council passed the rating methodology in the 2018-19 financial year at the May 22 meeting.

A proposed 3.6 per cent rate rise was put out for public comment.

The proposed rates will ensure the City is in prime position to continue delivering the planned program of major projects vital to supporting a rapidly growing population, as well as ensuring key infrastructure maintenance and renewal projects continue.

Mayor Barry Sammels said adopting the proposed rates and minimum payments would help the City meet the community’s growing needs.

“As one of the fastest growing local governments in the Southern Metropolitan Corridor, the demand for large scale community infrastructure investment is incredibly high,” he said.

“By being fiscally responsible we can ensure the City of Rockingham continues to provide for the needs of our growing population and ensure that people throughout the City have access to the same range and quality of facilities and services.”

In comparison to neighbouring and similar sized local governments, the City has consistently had lower rates, with residents in the cities of Kwinana, Cockburn, Armadale and Swan all paying more on average in the last financial year.

“The City is one of the most efficient local governments in WA, with outcomes from 2017 Local Government Benchmarking indicating we had almost 30 per cent less staff members than the WA average,” Cr Sammels said.

“Our feedback score from the Happiness Index on Rock Port, which is a tool used by residents to measure how likely they would recommend living in the City to a friend or family member is very strong and currently sitting at 28.7.

“Put into context, two of Australia’s top two banks equivalent scores are -15 and -3, Ikea’s is -9 while Apple and Toyota are rated at 47 and 33 respectively.

“As the first local government to implement this kind of initiative, the City is an industry leader in using this kind of ground breaking community engagement.

“Outcomes from the 2017 customer satisfaction survey have also shown continued growth for the past nine years; all factors which indicate the City is continuing to meet the expectations of the community.”

Major capital expenditure for the 2018-19 financial year is budgeted at $71.06 million and includes projects such as stage 1 of the Baldivis District Sporting Complex and the Waterfront Village-Foreshore Redevelopment.

Under the approved rating methodology, the rate increase is equivalent to $40 per year on the minimum amount payable.

“The City understands the current economic climate can be tough for a number of residents, which is why we are committed to ensuring there are a range of options available to help pay rates,” Cr Sammels said.

These include instalment payments and direct debits either weekly, fortnightly or monthly.

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