Hint of more rates pain for City of Rockingham

RATEPAYERS in the City of Rockingham could face yet another rise next financial year, with council to consider adopting a City Business Plan for 2016-17 to 2025-26 working with a 5 per cent rate rise.

The City has outlined projects to be funded over the next decade within the policy report for the business plan, which councillors discussed at Tuesday’s Corporate and Community Development Committee meeting, and will vote to adopt at next Tuesday’s council meeting.

The City prepares a business plan twice each financial year, which is updated with the latest information and predictions, and the last version of the City business plan was adopted at the April 2015 council meeting.

Major projects to be funded in 2016 include the Baldivis South Community Centre for $3.5 million and upgrades to the netball courts at Mike Barnett Sports Complex for $340,000.

Projects in 2017 will include the Baldivis District Sportsplex stage one for $12.2 million and Rockingham Outdoor Youth Space for $1.379 million.

The City relies heavily on residential land rates to pay for projects as it lacks diverse rating categories, especially industrial land, that are out of its control.

Councillors on the Corporate and Community Development Committee voted four to one in favour of adopting the business plan with a 5 per cent rate increase. However, Cr Kelly McManus was against the plan and said she could not support further increases to rates given she campaigned for council on a ticket opposing rate rises.

Crs Leigh Liley, Barry Sammels, Justin Smith and Matthew Whitfield voted in favour of adopting the report, with Cr Smith saying: “Whatever we do people are going to complain. If rates are low the City goes backwards, none of the projects or maintenance works are done, and if rates are high we cop flak; we can’t win.”