Town’s rate increases have been prudent
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,