Claremont kicks off rates round with a proposed 1 per cent rise

The Town of Claremont's 2019-20 draft budget includes $2.5 million to rebuild McKenzie Pavilion in Claremont. Picture: Jon Bassett
The Town of Claremont's 2019-20 draft budget includes $2.5 million to rebuild McKenzie Pavilion in Claremont. Picture: Jon Bassett

CLAREMONT Council proposes a rates increase of 0.94 cent and a net operating surplus of $3.65 million in its draft 2019-20 budget that will be released for public comment.

“We consistently have had surpluses because we are required to by law, and this enables us to contain rates rises,” Mayor Jock Barker said.

A report said the increase would gather an extra $136,028, and with the $405,949 from gross rental value-generated rates and $96,000 from an interim rating, would collect $15,142,767 in 2019-20.

It said this would result in a 4.4 per cent increase in the rates collected in 2018-19.

The surplus could be used for developing assets and capital projects, with $2.147 million from grants funding some of the work.

There is $6.035 million set aside for new and improved council infrastructure including $2.5 million to rebuild McKenzie Pavilion and $1.94 million for some roads and footpaths in the next 12 months.

“The entire town will get new footpaths over the next six years, which is quick compared to some other councils where it could take 20 years,” Mr Barker said.

It is proposed borrowing would be reduced by $211,984 and reserves increased by $305,484.

Chief executive Liz Ledger said the draft budget was achieved by “business efficiencies”, while some of the surplus came from more fines revenue, greater numbers at the public swimming pool and more food and health permits.

“There are others such as having the same amount of staff, including an in-house lawyer, reducing the number of cars, and we’ve renewed a lot of contracts, such as those for the phones and photocopiers, for the best values,” Ms Ledger said.

Cr Paul Kelly was concerned that, after removing operating costs, the proposed rates increase may not cover wage rises.

However he had no overall issue with the draft budget, which he said had benefitted from greater numbers of rateable homes.

Ratepayers can comment on the budget at www.claremont.wa.gov.au until June 17.