Rates on way up

Avon Valley Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Sarah Brookes

RATES are ex­pected to rise in the Shire of Mun­dar­ing.

The Shire’s rates yield in 201819 is ex­pected to in­crease 3.1 per cent, which in­cludes 0.5 per cent fore­cast growth from new dwellings.

Last year coun­cil­lors re­jected a 4 per cent rate hike and sent the fi­nance team back to the draw­ing board be­fore ap­prov­ing a 3 per cent rise.

The Shire is ex­pected to adopt this year’s bud­get at its next meet­ing on June 12.

Shire Pres­i­dent John Daw said staff costs would be kept at a min­i­mum, with a 0.57 FTE in­crease as a re­sult of sav­ings and ef­fi­cien­cies cre­ated in other ar­eas of the Shire.

“There will be an in­crease in li­brary staffing and a re­duc­tion of the tree canopy un­der­storey pro­gram,” he said.

“Fac­tors im­pact­ing rates in­clude State Gov­ern­ment in­creases to elec­tric­ity and wa­ter, which has in­creased our bud­get for util­i­ties by ap­prox­i­mately $ 120,000.”

Rates Mun­dar­ing con­venor John Bell ap­plauded the coun­cil for iden­ti­fy­ing op­er­a­tional sav- ings over the past two years.

“How­ever, to date we have failed to con­vince coun­cil to ad­dress the ever- in­creas­ing staff and over­head costs,” he said.

“This is the ele­phant in the room and cer­tainly the is­sue that res­onates the most with our fol­low­ers.

“The run­ning of the or­gan­i­sa­tion is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the CEO and coun­cil can­not in­ter­fere di­rectly but we do need our elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives to drive ef­fi­ciency in the ex­ec­u­tive.

“There are glim­mers of hope that they are start­ing to get the mes­sage but there is still a ca­bal of coun­cil­lors who want to carry on as nor­mal and just slug the ratepay­ers rather than look­ing for or­gan­i­sa­tional ef­fi­cien­cies.

“Hope­fully we can get some com­mit­ments from coun­cil to look at the over­head costs, just like any busi­ness.”

Big- ticket items in the Shire’s cor­po­rate busi­ness plan in­clude up­grad­ing light­ing at Mun­dar­ing Oval ($ 195,000) and resur­fac­ing the hard­courts ($ 220,000).

Key strat­egy projects listed in the first two years in­clude pro­gress­ing the Mun­dar­ing town cen­tre project.

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