By Melissa Sheil
AS many Perth business owners and families faced the difficulties of navigating a third COVID-19 lockdown for the year, local governments in the eastern hills region were preparing to adopt their annual budgets and rates charges.
In 2020, all three local government areas in Echo News’ readership, the Cities of Swan and Kalamunda and the Shire of Mundaring, opted to freeze rates from the previous year.
This financial year, the City of Swan is the only one to continue the trend.
However, the minimum charge for general properties rated by Gross Rental Value (GRV), is fairly even across the board.
City of Swan’s minimum rate is $890 (proposed), Shire of Mundaring $888 (proposed) and City of Kalamunda $882 (adopted).
Kalamunda Council approved a rate in the dollar increase on Monday night of 2.15 per cent, or about $29.82 for a general property with a GRV of $20,000 when compared to last year.
Staff said the additional $1.4 million generated from the rates rise would help fund the City’s $31 million budgeted capital works program.
The multi-million-dollar program includes the Central Mall redevelopment, Maida Vale Reserve masterplan, Stirk Park skate and playground design, new female changerooms at sporting facilities, the Walliston transfer station renewal and upgrades to City parks, reserves, roads, facilities and drainage.
“We have a strong focus on our assets, primarily due to the ageing nature of Kalamunda’s infrastructure and the number of emerging communities, particularly in the foothills that require modernised facilities,” corporate services director Gary Ticehurst said.
Two submissions were received in response to the increase, both in objection.
For every $100 the City receives in revenue, $21 goes to asset management and operations, $19 to waste management, $16 to parks and environment services, $8 to governance and legal services, $8 to commercial and cultural services, $6 to community development, $6 to safety, $5 to asset planning, $4 to public relations, $3 to strategic planning, and $1 to asset delivery.
Rates make up 67 per cent of the City’s budget revenue.
“[This is] a figure higher than other local governments due to its lack of profit generating mechanisms such as paid parking,” Mr Ticehurst said.
Other factors for the rates increase included the rise of infrastructure and construction costs and the forecast 3 per cent increase in street lighting cost.
The cost of household waste services will also increase by $22 to $572.
No elected members received a pay increase this year with the exception of the deputy mayor who will get a $157 pay rise to their annual allowance.
The City of Swan’s budget was discussed at Council forum on Wednesday but COVID-19 restrictions saw the meeting moved to a non-public zoom format.
The final decision will be made at the Council meeting on July 7.
The Shire of Mundaring postponed its budget special council meeting to Tuesday, July 6.
Mundaring’s budget is based on a rate in the dollar rise for GRV properties of 2.68 per cent.
To compare around the metro area, the City of Wanneroo approved a 1 per cent increase in the rate in the dollar, the City of Stirling 0.9 per cent and City of Fremantle 3.95 per cent.