MUNDARING Shire’s 2.6 per cent rate increase is 0.4 per cent lower than last year’s long term financial plan prediction.
The shire’s 2018-19 annual budget, 10-year long term financial plan and three-year corporate business plan were adopted at Tuesday’s council meeting with the support and expressed satisfaction of all councillors.
Added with the predicted 0.5 per cent increase to the rates yield from new dwellings gives the shire an increased income from rates of 3.1 per cent.
One resident questioned the council on the rate rise.
Glen Forrest resident and ratepayer Eric Smith thanked the council and staff for road upgrades in his suburb before asking for a justification of the increase above Perth’s forecast inflation of 1.5 per cent.
President John Daw said the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the Local Government Cost Index were only two measures against the City’s rise.
“When you compare us with our neighbouring councils, particularly Kalamunda and Swan, Kalamunda by 2.2 and Swan by 1.8 per cent, using the same measure as they use, the Gross Rental Values measure, ours is 2.3 per cent,” he said.
“But we also include an increase in Unimproved Value rates, a small number of rates, that boosts us to 2.6 per cent and if you add in projected growth which is 0.5, it makes us stick out a little bit from the average.
“If you look at us apples to apples with Kalamunda and Swan we’re only marginally, fractionally above of what they’re doing.
“We can’t achieve CPI, it’s a different measure and it doesn’t take into account all other factors of local government.”
Deputy president Lynn Fisher said the City’s financial plans aspired to deliver the essential services while squeezing resources to fund the desirable services requested by the community.
“I think council and staff have worked well as a team over the last five months to identify ways to reduce the rates increases a further 0.4 per cent from last year’s prediction,” she said.
“Council has considered how to assign priorities to the goals in the Strategic Community Plan over the coming decade.
“Council is committed to ever reducing the increases in rates and I think we’ve done very well this year to get it down from what we predicted.
“The plateauing of rates in the LTFP is evidence of that commitment.”
Capital projects (listed in the first two years of the LTFP) include an upgrade to Mundaring Oval lighting ($195,000) and resurfacing of the oval hardcourts ($220,000).
Key strategy projects include recreation, reconciliation action and public health plans, the Mundaring Town Centre land assembly project, a weed control strategy review and seniors housing land use and public open space strategies.
By Claire Ottaviano