BAYSWATER city council’s budget has been approved after two dramatic false starts.
The council eventually settled on a 3.8 per cent rates increase.
Domestic service charges increase from $284.70 to $307.30 and $1 million will be allocated for council mergers.
The rates rise in the draft budget was 4.5 per cent, but councillors insisted on a 0.7 per cent reduction, triggering a second special council meeting Monday night.
A motion to pass the amended budget was then lost with councillors Chris Cornish, Mike Anderton and Martin Toldo voting against it.
Cr Toldo wanted the council to cut $200,000 from spending to cover the drop in rates revenue.
“We can’t keep dipping into the reserves, we need to look at making savings instead, otherwise our reserves will get smaller and smaller,” he said.
Cr Anderton suggested the $200,000 promised to Main Roads for a safe crossing on Guildford Road be snipped.
Cr Cornish said the budget was neither balanced nor restrained, but wouldn’t go into detail citing the presence of the media.
The trio’s rejection had mayor Sylvan Albert and council executives visibly fuming, given they’d spent several late nights fine-tuning the revision.
“If we don’t pass the budget tonight the city could lose interest on around $7 million,” he said.
“As the director pointed out we need the cash flow to pay bills and staff wages, and we also have a printer deadline tonight. To pull this at the eleventh hour—well I don’t know where you’re pulling it from.”
Eventually Crs Anderton and Toldo were brought around when a note was attached to the budget noting council executives must rely less on reserve transfers to top up spending.
by STEPHEN POLLOCK