Budget hit by historic costs
A LEGAL bill and The Grove library construction are affecting finances at the Shire of Peppermint Grove, which approved a 6.9 per cent rates rise in its draft 2015-16 budget last month.
“This current budget is the last stage in this process and we will continue to keep a tight rein on expenditure,” Shire President Rachel Thomas said.
Rates are the primary source of income at the 1100-resident shire, where a general rate of 7.42 cents in the dollar is needed to collect $2.994 million in rates in the next 12 months.
The shire’s rates increase was only surpassed by Rockingham Council’s 7 per cent, City of Canning‘s 7.37 per cent and 8 per cent at the Town of Victoria Park.
Peppermint Grove’s neighbouring councils are less reliant on rates and Cottesloe increased its rates by 2.5 per cent this year.
Mrs Thomas said her council’s contribution to the $17 million library and a $125,000 legal settlement to the former Cottesloe-Peppermint Grove Bowling Club in 2001, which previously occupied the Stirling Highway library site, had cause “severe strain in 2009-2011”.
She said it was hoped 2015-16 would be the last budget with a rate rise at this level.
As part of cutting costs, the Shire will share computer and IT services with Cottesloe Council, which agreed to the arrangement at its meeting last month.
Shire chief executive John Merrick said the plan would be delayed for several months while Cottesloe employed new staff to manage the project, but it was anticipated sharing computers could save Peppermint Grove $40,000$50,000 each year.
“There will be a particular saving on software licensing costs, it will enable Peppermint Grove to take bill payments from Cottesloe residents, records management will be streamlined, and there will be only one printing of rates notices for both councils,” Mr Merrick said.