Rates on way up
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.