Ser­vices be­hind rates jump

Harvey-Waroona Reporter - - FRONT PAGE - David Charlesworth

WAROONA Shire Coun­cil opted for a 5.9 per cent rates rise – one per cent less than last year – when it passed the 2017/18 bud­get at a spe­cial coun­cil meet­ing on Au­gust 8.

Shire pres­i­dent Noel Dew said the coun­cil had worked to bal­ance the fi­nan­cial bur­den faced by res­i­dents with the need to main­tain ser­vices.

“We have to make sure what we’re set­ting out to achieve is cost­ef­fec­tive,” Cr Dew said.

“But at the same time it has to be of ser­vice to the com­mu­nity.

“We are acutely aware of the in­creas­ing fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties be­ing faced by our ratepay­ers as a re­sult of the es­ca­lat­ing costs associated with ev­ery­day liv­ing.”

Cr Dew said de­spite the fi­nan­cial im­pact of the 2017 Waroona Yar- loop bush­fires on the shire, the coun­cil was still able to hold to its long-term plans.

“We have been through a cou­ple of dif­fi­cult years fi­nan­cially as a re­sult of the 2016 fires,” he said.

“Still, to be able to meet our longterm fi­nan­cial plan ob­jec­tive of a 5.9 per cent rate in­crease is quite re­mark­able.”

Shire deputy chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Lau­rie Till­brook said the coun­cil had a long-term plan to main­tain the 5.9 per cent in­crease.

He ex­pected rates to rise by the same amount as this year for the next three to four years, de­pend­ing on growth in the shire.

“We’ve seen mod­est growth but not to the point where we’ve had a boom,” he said.

Bin col­lec­tion fees will also be in­creased from $275 to $282.

Mr Till­brook said while a num- ber of projects were in this bud­get, its pri­or­ity was to main­tain shire ser­vices.

“We’re re­ally hav­ing a year of look­ing af­ter what we’ve got,” he said.

A ma­jor fea­ture of the bud­get is the ren­o­va­tion of the Pre­ston Beach Com­mu­nity Cen­tre which was al­lo­cated $550,000.

“We’re re­ally ex­cited to tick that one off,” Mr Till­brook said.

A num­ber of roads projects were bud­geted, in­clud­ing $440,000 for Dorsett Road, $223,000 for Somers Road and $360,000 for Buller Road.

A num­ber of up­grades were in­cluded for Waroona Recre­ation Cen­tre in ad­di­tion to main­te­nance with $67,000 to in­stall so­lar pan­els and $10,000 for re­pairs to leaks on some of the bas­ket­ball courts.

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