Perth set for 1.1% rise
A HEFTY 7.6 per cent rate increase is proposed in Vincent as the council grapples with ageing assets, rising staff costs, and sizeable debts to pay off.
At the June 7 meeting Mayor Emma Cole said of the draft budget: “There’s no glamour projects … it’s all very much a focus on renewal, a focus on delivery of our programs and services, and projects that our community has come to expect.”
Ms Cole acknowledged 7.6 per cent was a bit of a headline-grabbing figure but she pointed out Vincent historically had a low base rate compared to other councils: “All local governments are very different. When you look at the City of Vincent, because we have been a low-rating council what [the 7.6 per cent increase] actually equates to is … $2 a week” per property.
Underground power contributes 2.1 per cent of the increase, with the council gathering a fund to start paying for underground power that’ll be rolled out to about one third of properties in the first wave (“Power in the pipeline,” Voice, June 4, 2022).
The council will also start spending more on assets to keep them in serviceable nick.
Councillor Dan Loden described it as the most challenging budget he’d worked on.
“If it was a popularity contest we’d probably be losing it, I suspect. But it’s also probably the best budget I’ve been involved in because it’s actually generally a reforming budget: It’s finally dealing with this issue of asset sustainability.”
There’s also been a freeze on staff wages during the tough Covid times.
That’s led to some good staff leaving so an extra $1.8m will go towards a pay increase and superannuation.
Ms Cole said: “Just today I learned of another staff member who’s leaving due to salary… I see this happening and I know it to be a genuine, real issue that we are losing good people.”
The rate increase could’ve been higher but instead the council’s proposing to halve the first hour free parking period in Vincent carparks to just 30 minutes in hopes of make back some revenue from parking fees instead of rates.
“Vincent has had one hour free parking in our car parks for 11 years, with many car parks in high demand, especially during peak periods,” Ms Cole said in a statement.
“The revenue from reducing the free parking period is equivalent to a 2.8 per cent rate increase and shifts the cost of providing parking services to users, for example, the 83 per cent of consumers in Leederville who are non-residents.”
Councillors unanimously endorsed the draft differential rating strategy.
The strategy and the plan to halve the free parking hour is open for comment for 21 days via imagine.vincent.wa.gov.au before council votes on the final version on July 5.
Perth council’s also met to endorse the city’s draft budget, proposing a 1.1 per cent rise in rates this year.
by DAVID BELL