Rates have increased for the second time in five years as City of Swan endorsed their new budget.

Swan rates to rise 3.5 per cent

Swan Mayor Tanya Richardson said the city had frozen rates for three consecutive years after the pandemic to lessen the financial burden on the community.
July 4, 2024
Anita McInnes

CITY of Swan councillors have voted to increase rates by 3.5 per cent saying the rate rise was needed to align the budget with the priorities identified in the strategic community plan 2021-2031 and the council’s direction not to close facilities or cut services.

Five councillors including deputy mayor and Midland Guildford ward councillor Ian Johnson voted against the city’s second rate increase in five years at the special council meeting held on June 26.

While presenting the motion to adopt the rate increase Pearce ward Cr Aaron Bowman said the city’s big budget could not be determined by homemade spreadsheets and a small change in one part of it could have significant consequences in another part.

“A small reduction of 1 or 2 per cent in a particular service may seem insignificant but what are the impacts – mowing the verges even less frequently, having to wait longer for phones to be answered or not consulting as much with our community – could be just some of the outcomes, which we no doubt would all agree are not acceptable,’’ he said.”

“Councillors we all know that any suggestion to cut a budget (ed) amount that is for example funded from reserves or DCP or part grant funded is not a (municipal) saving and we need to be extremely careful if anyone suggests cutting these types of projects as the result is our community misses out.”

He said any changes councillors wanted should have been incorporated into the budget over the proceeding four to five months.

“Let’s not forget that we all agreed at the start of the budget workshop that the general direction was that there was to be no cuts or any reduction to any of the current services and the budget before us tonight provides for this,’’ he said.

After the meeting Cr Johnson said he had drafted a motion requesting the chief executive officer Stephen Cain prepare a zero percent rate rise using a list of reductions provided, however, the CEO would not allow the motion as in his opinion it was in breach of the Local Government Act (LGA).

In Most Swan councillors agree to rate increase, Cr Johnson said he and another councillor were putting together another budget like the 2020 one.

The city has one of the biggest capital works programs in WA, with a budget of $155.5 million for 2024-25 including major infrastructure projects such as Swan Active Ellenbrook, the extension of Henley Brook Avenue and the construction of the Ballajura intergenerational playspace.

Swan Mayor Tanya Richardson said the city had frozen rates for three consecutive years after the onset of COVID-19 to lessen the financial burden of the pandemic on homes and businesses.

“Council has been working hard to get this budget right in recent months and we’re confident we’ve struck the right balance for our growing community,’’ she said.

“This 3.5 per cent increase will help us deliver the diverse range of services and projects our ratepayers expect, while minimising costs in a challenging economic environment.”

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