Rates to jump by almost 10 per cent

Councillors voted 9-1 in favour of endorsing rate rises for public comment, ahead of an anticipated adoption in full as part of the 2015-16 budget at next month�s council meeting.

Ratepayers face a 7 per cent increase on 2015-16 rates compared to 2014-15 rates, with a further 2.8 per cent Community Safety Patrol Levy which used to be added as a separate payment to the rates, to be incorporated within rates.

Despite putting forward the motion for endorsement, Safety Bay ward councillor Leigh Liley warned fellow councillors that they needed to be conscious of future rates increases, as they had now nearly doubled since 2009. �I recognise the need for infrastructure as per the business plan, but I do want my fellow councillors to think about the future,� she said.

�The minimum rate has nearly doubled since 2009 from $588 to $1043. I understand the need for increases as (rates are) our only source of revenue raising, but enough is enough.

�In future we should use CPI for generating the rate price, rather than a $100 per year rise because potentially we�ll raise rates by $1000 over a 10-year period.�

Cr Joy Stewart, the sole councillor to vote against the rise, added: �Over the next 10 years we need to implement an affordable process that is in line with the economic framework in Australia� it�s time to work within our means.�

The Courier reported last week that councillors on the Corporate and Community Development committee felt the rate rises were justified as they gave the City its sole means for generating revenue.

Cr Matthew Whitfield reiterated his belief that the rises were acceptable so the City could go ahead with major infrastructure projects.

�The community is asking on a daily basis for more infrastructure and facilities and if they weren�t asking we wouldn�t be discussing rate rises,� he said.

�The community…wants these facilities and right now it makes economic sense.

�If the community doesn�t want new facilities and infrastructure they need to contact us and tell us.�