Mild rate rise

STIRLING ratepayers will receive a mild 0.9 per cent average rates increase this year.

Mayor Mark Irwin said the council had “worked hard to develop a budget that has a minimal financial impact on our residents and ratepayers” while still delivering 200-odd services, and a few major projects this year.

One of the biggies is the $24 million Stephenson Avenue extension, which is the first stage of a major overhaul of the Stirling city centre. Aimed to build a lively hub around Stirling Railway Station, it’s due to kick off next year if all the approvals line up.

Cr Irwin puts a lot of the savings down to an organisational review which has helped drive efficiencies, while spending on legal fees was about half a million less than last year.

The previous financial year the council spent $1.64m heading to various courts, tribunals and commissions.

Stirling’s rate increases have been trending downward over the past decade, though it separates the rubbish collection charge which does zip up higher some years (this year rubbish charges are up 1.45 per cent, making it $350 for a year’s standard garbo service).

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