SHIRE of Peppermint Grove finances are improving with a 2.24 per cent rates increase in 2017-18 and more being paid into reserves, partly thanks to the demolition of the unfinished Taj on Swan mansion.
“It’s good we’ve been able to put a fair chunk back into our reserves as they were pretty low,” Shire president Rachel Thomas said when the 2017-18 budget was adopted at last week’s meeting.
In the past, council reserves have been used for issues including a legal battle over the site of The Grove library, its construction, and lawyers fighting the Oswals mansion, which was demolished last October.
Peppermint Grove’s rate increases were known for being among the highest in Perth, including a rise of 6.9 per cent in 2015.
Last week it was agreed a new general rate of 7.65c in the dollar would raise $3.149 million from the suburb’s roughly 600 properties.
The vehicle reserve will double to $20,000 and the road reserve rise from $100,000 to $106,700.
Mrs Thomas said council could consider lower rate rises in the future because residents’ support for past increases could not be taken for granted.
However, Cr Peter Macintosh claimed the 2017-18 rate rise could be said to be 1.55 per cent if the increase was measured against gross rental values being recalculated for all the council’s properties this year.
It is estimated the council would increase its estimated surplus by $102,916 at the end of 2016-17, but the actual figure will not be known until next month.
Spending at the council will include $20,000 to find a replacement for chief executive John Merrick, who is retiring mid-2018, $105,00 for river wall repair near the Scotch College boatshed, and $99,700 for road work on The Esplanade.
A Shire report said total revenue would fall $123,847 because the Oswal’s reimbursement for the mansion’s demolition, and WA Grants Commission and Swan River river wall grants paid early in previous years had been removed from the budget.
The expected operating expenses would decrease $188,412 because costs for the mansion had gone, and $128,668 less was allocated for infrastructure assets before their revaluation in June 2018.