Rates rise less than last year
FOLLOWING a review of Harvey Shire Council’s 2018/19 draft budget last week, the council has found cost-saving measures to cap its rates rise to less than 3 per cent.
An earlier draft proposed a 3.5 per cent rise, equal to last year, but following the review that figure is likely to be less than 3 per cent, Harvey shire president Tania Jackson said.
The council reviewed the budget at a special meeting on July 2 and expects to officially adopt the draft on July 17.
Cr Jackson said despite cuts to funding from the State Government, the council tried to keep rates as low as possible.
“We did look at rates rises across the region and maintained a modest increase,” Cr Jackson said.
The early rates payment dis- count was maintained at 7 per cent while the rubbish collection charge increased by $5 to $255.
Cr Jackson said while the council went through the draft budget line by line, a few changes had to be made.
“A few amendments we made by the end of the meeting weren’t substantial,” she said.
“There were a few duplications and administrative changes.”
Infrastructure projects outlined in the budget include construction of the $1.02 million Australind State Emergency Services station and $395,000 for a new Binningup Fire Station.
Cr Jackson said the council had also secured Lotterywest and insurance funding to rebuild the Yarloop Community Centre.
“We should get tenders out for that this financial year,” she said.
The budget also included the construction of stage 2 of the Brunswick River Cottages, the second stage of the Urban Forest Project, upgrades to the Harvey Recreation and Cultural Centre and Leschenault Leisure Centre and a contribution to the Brunswick Men’s Shed.
Cr Jackson said she was pleased council staff had delivered a balanced budget this year.
“We were happy not to have to work through and find those dollars, our staff did that work for us,” she said.
While not all project applications were successful, Cr Jackson said a number of submissions received partial funding.
Cr Jackson said cuts to the Direct Road Grants pool and other State Government grants programs last year had an impact on the Harvey budget and subsequently the projected rates rise.
“We’ve had to adjust the budget accordingly,” she said.
“For all local governments there’s a deficit in road programs which the local governments will have to catch up with over time.”