Town’s rate in­creases have been pru­dent

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Western Opinion -

DON Frane’s let­ter in the Au­gust 30 edi­tion is a per­fect op­por­tu­nity to pro­vide more com­plete in­for­ma­tion and ap­pro­pri­ate bal­ance to the un­der­stand­ing of rate in­creases.

I have never much con­cerned my­self with the rate in­creases of neigh­bour­ing coun­cils and I have not done any check­ing to see where the com­par­isons would sit.

Com­par­isons are fu­tile un­less you look at what is pro­vided for by the rates. For ex­am­ple, some coun­cils levy an ad­di­tional charge for waste man­age­ment while oth­ers, like Clare­mont, in­clude that cost in the gen­eral rate.

Only Clare­mont has an aquatic cen­tre and a mu­seum, and only Clare­mont has a 95 per cent as­set preser­va­tion rate.

As mayor since late 2009, I am very pleased to ex­plain and stand by the pru­dent fi­nan­cial man­age­ment since the first bud­get of my may­oral du­ties in 2010.

The rate-in-dol­lar in­crease over these seven bud­gets has steadily re­duced from 6 per cent to the most re­cent 2 per cent.

CPI, which mea­sures the cost move­ment for house­hold-type costs, has lit­tle rel­e­vance to lo­cal gov­ern­ment. There is the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Cost In­dex that mea­sures costs di­rectly re­lated to what lo­cal gov­ern­ment does, and yes, it is his­tor­i­cally higher than the CPI.

Just the same, it is worth not­ing that over that seven-year pe­riod the coun­cil did not in­crease the rate by more than 1 per cent above CPI other than to re­spond to ex­cep­tional ex­ter­nal im­pacts.

These in­cluded the sig­nif­i­cant in­creases in State Gov­ern­ment util­ity costs that ev­ery­body will re­mem­ber, high costs in labour dur­ing the boom times and sig­nif­i­cant in­creases to the State Gov­ern­ment land­fill levy.

In 2014-15 there was an ex­tra­or­di­nary in­crease in waste man­age­ment costs that coun­cil could do noth­ing to avoid, which re­sulted in a 2.31 per cent ad­di­tional rate im­post.

Over those seven years, we have seen new ser­vices in­tro­duced, par­tic­u­larly in com­mu­nity ac­tiv­i­ties, and we have achieved a record in as­set preser­va­tion that is sec­ond to none.

Sure, we could let ser­vice stan­dards drop, aban­don some of our ser­vices or let our as­sets de­te­ri­o­rate and let fu­ture gen­er­a­tions pay the tab.

I am very proud to say the coun­cil never chose to do that, in­stead we have care­fully and pru­dently man­aged to­day with an eye to the fu­ture.

I be­lieve that is what we are elected to do and the com­mu­nity can see and ap­pre­ci­ate what is be­ing achieved. Jock Barker, Mayor, Town of Clare­mont.

I am a Su­bi­aco ratepayer and a client of per­sonal trainer Susan An­der­son.

I have worked out with Susan on many oc­ca­sions at Su­bi­aco Com­mon be­fore the coun­cil chose ar­bi­trar­ily to ban all train­ers from the park with­out con­sul­ta­tion with ratepay­ers or lo­cals liv­ing in the area.

There has been an on­go­ing is­sue with the coun­cil for the past four years and Susan has been a very will­ing par­tic­i­pant in dis­cus­sions with the coun­cil to en­sure that the park is avail­able for use for all ratepay­ers and visi­tors.

The MRA ad­ver­tises Su­bi­aco Com­mon as "de­signed for the many dif­fer­ent groups of peo­ple who live, visit or work in Su­bi­aco. Ex­plore Su­bi­aco Com­mon and you'll dis­cover why it's such a pop­u­lar spot for bar­be­cues, sports ac­tiv­i­ties and as a chil­dren's play­ground."

It is there­fore dis­ap­point­ing that the coun­cil made this de­ci­sion giv­ing the clear pur­pose of the Com­mon.

In de­fence of Susan and her busi­ness, she ceased hold­ing train­ing ses­sions at the Com­mon once the coun­cil had made a fi­nal de­ci­sion. She has al­ways obeyed all laws as­so­ci­ated with the area, has cleaned up rub­bish left by other users and is ac­knowl­edged by lo­cals as a wel­come ad­di­tion to the park.

I am very dis­ap­pointed in the coun­cil's de­ci­sion and Su­bi­aco Com­mon is just not the same with­out Susan. Tracy Arm­son-Cull,


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