BAYSWATER city council rates will rise by 3.75 per cent in 2015/16.
The council passed its budget Monday night after rejecting deputy mayor Michael Sabatino’s bid to lower the hike to three per cent.
Cr Sabatino had told colleagues the “economy is ballistic” and residents shouldn’t be hit with the larger rise.
Cr Chris Cornish accused Cr Sabatino of wanting to lower rates in order to appeal to voters ahead of October’s council elections.
Cr Cornish—a central ward rival of Cr Sabatino’s—said it would be irresponsible to set a lower rate rise without jettisoning projects and services. The financial planner told the meeting he was frustrated with the council for raiding savings in past years after lowering rates.
Cr Alan Radford backed Cr Cornish, saying the council needed the bigger hike to help cover costs such as higher staff costs ($1.3 million) and utility bills ($3.6m).
The council has cut about $130,000 from its budget for both the Earlier Settlers Luncheon and Mayoral Dinner: they will now be held biennially.
Big-ticket projects include council HQ improvement ($2m), Eric Singleton Bird Sanctuary ($1.2m) and playground upgrades ($300,000).
by EMMIE DOWLING