Rates in­crease of 4.5pc en­dorsed

South Western Times - - Budget 2017-18 - Kate Field­ing

ANY con­flict­ing views among coun­cil­lors were set­tled on Tues­day night when Bun­bury City Coun­cil en­dorsed a 4.5 per cent rates in­crease for the city’s res­i­dents.

In the weeks lead­ing up to Tues­day’s spe­cial Bud­get meet­ing, opin­ions had flared as the coun­cil de­bated be­tween a three and 4.5 per cent hike.

As part of its 2017-18 Bud­get, the coun­cil en­dorsed the higher amount in an 11-1 vote.

While he had pre­vi­ously voiced his con­cern around the com­mu­nity “do­ing it tough” and ad­vo­cat­ing for a three per cent in­crease, Mayor Gary Bren­nan yes­ter­day said the rise was “re­spon­si­ble”.

“Coun­cil has made a de­ci­sion and I sup­port that de­ci­sion,” Mr Bren­nan said.

“The ma­jor­ity of coun­cil thought that 4.5 per cent was a re­spon­si­ble rate in­crease and that will pro­vide for growth, fu­ture ex­pen­di­ture and achiev­ing coun­cil’s strate­gic ob­jec­tives.”

So a Bud­get could be put to­gether, the coun­cil last month de­bated the rate in­crease with the 4.5 per cent op­tion even­tu­ally sup­ported in a close 6-5 count.

There was no fur­ther de­bate when the in­crease was en­dorsed this week.

The move will mean the min­i­mum rate in Bun­bury will be $1131, up from $1082 last year.

The in­crease again in­cludes one per cent for the city’s as­set up­grades and re­newals in a bid to bridge a multi-mil­lion dol­lar gap over five years.

Mr Bren­nan said res­i­dents could take some com­fort in the “ab­so­lute min­i­mum” in­crease to the city’s fees and charges by an av­er­age of 1.4 per cent.

“This means the com­mu­nity can still ac­cess im­por­tant ac­tiv­i­ties such as the South West Sports Cen­tre,” Mr Bren­nan said.

He said any­one strug­gling to pay their rates bill should con­tact the city’s of­fi­cers.

“That cer­tainly hap­pens ev­ery year, peo­ple do strug­gle,” he said.

“You can pay in in­stal­ments, but those still strug­gling please get in touch and our of­fi­cers can ac­com­mo­date pe­ri­odic pay­ments.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.