Yearly rate rises likely

Key project development: Laurie Stanford Reserve and right Rocking Aquatic Centre.|www.communitypix.com.au d418888
Key project development: Laurie Stanford Reserve and right Rocking Aquatic Centre.|www.communitypix.com.au d418888

The plan was adopted by council this week and outlined that a rate yield of 9.9 per cent for the next three years, and about 7 per cent thereafter, would be needed to fund it.

It also acknowledged the City was heavily reliant on residential rate revenue because it lacks diversity of rateable land uses compared to similar local governments, most notably in the form of a significant industrial precinct.

Revenue raised from any potential rate rise would go towards the key projects in the plan, including more than $133 million on City asset renewal, a $131.7 million roads improvement program, new multilevel parking facility in the city centre and the redevelopment or relocation of Rockingham Aquatic Centre.

But the plan is flexible enough to allow for any changes that may arise, such as the issue of any potential rate rise, a point repeatedly made by Mayor Barry Sammels when the issue of rates valuation and modelling was raised at the City’s Corporate and Community Development Committee meeting last week.

Councillor Joy Stewart showed particular concern with the figure of 9.9 per cent quoted in the plan, particularly in the wake of a 7.6 per cent rate rise in 2013, the fifth straight year of rate rises in the City.

‘One more year at 9.9 per cent, for us to go back to our people with that, we can’t do it to them,’ she said.

Cr Sammels tried to allay the fears of fellow councillors by referring to it being a recommendation only at this stage and pointing to the plan outlining flexibility for change.

‘At this stage it is only a recommendation and council can go back to it at any point.’