Stated rates in­crease not such good news

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Opinion -

I NO­TICED the an­nounce­ment in your pa­per from the desk of the Mayor of the Town of Clare­mont that the rates in­crease had been held to a “con­ser­va­tive” just 2 per cent.

Pretty good eh? Cer­tainly does not seem much of a raise.

How­ever, it re­ally does de­pend on the amount it is be­ing ap­plied to. Last year the av­er­age rate bill for Clare­mont was $2046, be­hind only Pep­per­mint Grove with an av­er­age of $4161 and Ned­lands at an av­er­age $2150.

And if you look at my rates as an ex­am­ple, a back of the en­ve­lope cal­cu­la­tion re­veals that since 2008, there has been an av­er­age yearly in­crease of more than 5 per cent in dol­lar terms when in­fla­tion over the same pe­riod was an av­er­age of 2.1 per cent per an­num.

If my rates had been raised by in­fla­tion over the same pe­riod, I would be pay­ing more than 20 per cent less.

I sup­port the huge amounts of vol­un­tary time given to coun­cil mat­ters by the mayor and his fel­low coun­cil­lors. While I am sure that there was never any in­ten­tion to mis­lead, the an­nounce­ment about the rate rise ap­pears to be unequiv­o­cally good news.

It is not, and may well be symp­to­matic of a sys­tem where the tax col­lec­tor sets his own rate of tax as well as the bud­get – a pretty clear con­flict of in­ter­est.

Greater care should be taken to avoid sug­gest­ing the sit­u­a­tion is other than it re­ally is. Mind you, I did no­tice the dis­claimer un­der the mayor’s an­nounce­ment from your news­pa­per. Per­haps you thought that it sounded too good to be true?

Don Frayne, Clare­mont.

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