City ‘distorted’ rate: Mayor

Town of Cambridge Mayor Simon Withers last week accused the City of Stirling of providing misleading information to Wembley, Wembley Downs, Churchlands and Woodlands residents affected by State Government-proposed boundary changes, claiming rates would increase by up to $583 a year.

Mr Withers said Stirling ‘grossly distorted’ the rate projection by calculating the change using the Town’s $500 waste charge, which currently applied to less than 4 per cent of households that have ‘opted-in’ for a larger 240lt general rubbish bin.

Consultant Ron Back, who completed Stirling’s independent financial assessment, said the $500 charge for a 240lt Cambridge bin was applied ‘like for like’ with Stirling’s current level of service, a 240lt all-in-one bin.

However, Mr Withers said about 96 per cent of Cambridge’s 10,000 residential properties paid $100 for a 120lt general rubbish bin and were provided a 240lt recycling bin collected fortnightly for no charge, putting its minimum weekly waste capacity on par with Stirling.

Mr Back said it was difficult to compare council pricing structures because Cambridge subsidised part of its waste charge through its rates.

‘Unless we can determine what the level of subsidy is and who’s going to pay we can’t compare service absolutely so what we’ve got to do is pick the best endeavour and that’s what we’ve done,’ he said.

Cambridge chief executive Jason Buckley said the Town’s rate in the dollar was higher because it included the cost of collecting, transporting and recycling the waste in its rates.

‘If we collect more tonnage it doesn’t cost us any more to recycle because it’s a set price in our recycling contract,’ Mr Buckley said.

Local Government Minister Tony Simpson said electors who determined they were misled by Stirling could take the matter up with the council through their local councillor.

A Stirling spokeswoman said the City would not recalculate the change.