Bud­get hit by his­toric costs

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News -

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.

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