Rates increase never good news


Don Frayne,
Claremont.
Rates rises are never good news.
Don Frayne, Claremont. Rates rises are never good news.

I NOTICED the announcement in your paper from the desk of the Mayor of the Town of Claremont that the rates increase had been held to a “conservative” just 2 per cent.

Pretty good eh? Certainly does not seem much of a raise.

However, it really does depend on the amount it is being applied to. Last year the average rate bill for Claremont was $2046, behind only Peppermint Grove with an average of $4161 and Nedlands at an average $2150.

And if you look at my rates as an example, a back of the envelope calculation reveals that since 2008, there has been an average yearly increase of more than 5 per cent in dollar terms when inflation over the same period was an average of 2.1 per cent per annum.

If my rates had been raised by inflation over the same period, I would be paying more than 20 per cent less.

I support the huge amounts of voluntary time given to council matters by the mayor and his fellow councillors. While I am sure that there was never any intention to mislead, the announcement about the rate rise appears to be unequivocally good news.

It is not, and may well be symptomatic of a system where the tax collector sets his own rate of tax as well as the budget – a pretty clear conflict of interest.

Greater care should be taken to avoid suggesting the situation is other than it really is. Mind you, I did notice the disclaimer under the mayor’s announcement from your newspaper.

Perhaps you thought that it sounded too good to be true?