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