Ob­jec­tion lim­its rates rise

Pilbara News - - NEWS - Ali­cia Per­era

An “un­prece­dented” 600 submissions in op­po­si­tion to the City of Kar­ratha’s pro­posed 2 per cent rates rise for the av­er­age res­i­dent has prompted the coun­cil to re­duce the in­crease to one per cent, be­low the rate of in­fla­tion.

Ratepay­ers sent in hun­dreds of submissions on the last day of the pro­posal’s con­sul­ta­tion pe­riod and about 40 peo­ple turned up to the de­cid­ing spe­cial coun­cil meet­ing on Tues­day, where coun­cil­lors ul­ti­mately voted 8-3 in favour of an al­ter­na­tive mo­tion that re­duced the av­er­age rates payable on res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties from 2 per cent to one per cent for the 2018-19 fi­nan­cial year.

The mo­tion will also lead to the City de­vel­op­ing a “hard­ship fund” for ratepay­ers strug­gling to cover the cost, which is planned to be cre­ated from sur­plus funds from rents col­lected from the Quar­ter.

Ratepay­ers of most other land cat­e­gories will still be subject to an av­er­age rise of 2 per cent, with the in­crease for tran­sient work­force ac­com­mo­da­tion to be subject to min­is­te­rial ap­proval.

Speak­ing at the meet­ing, Cr Grant Cu­cel said the State Govern­ment’s reval­u­a­tion of gross rental val­ues in 2017 — in which the value of some prop­er­ties dropped by more than 40 per cent — as the cost of pro­vid­ing City ser­vices rose made de­ter­min­ing rates this year a dif­fi­cult bal­anc­ing act.

City of Kar­ratha Mayor Peter Long said he was pleased with the fi­nal de­ci­sion and it showed coun­cil­lors had lis­tened to the com­mu­nity.

“We’ve in­creased our rates by the small­est per­cent­age of any (coun­cil) in the Pil­bara by a long shot, and we’ve only been able to do that be­cause we’ve got a healthy bal­ance sheet,” he said.

Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr

Sur­plus funds from rents from the Quar­ter will go into the rates “hard­ship fund”.

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