Gingin rates rise less than 2 per cent

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Shire of Gingin President David Roe says the council has adopted its lowest rates rise in decades. Picture: Anita McInnes

THE Shire of Gingin says it will deliver a $7.5 million capital works program while keeping its rates increase to 1.75 per cent in the 2017-18 financial year.

President David Roe said the capital works program included $240,000 for the Hinchcliffe Hill staircase, ramp, car park and pathway in Lancelin (to include assisted wheelchair access), $34,000 for solar initiatives at the Guilderton Caravan Park, $126,000 for the new skate bowl at Lancelin, $100,000 for Nilgen Fire Shed replacement and $100,000 for the Lancelin Golf Club bore and pump.

It also includes $100,000 for footpath upgrades across the shire, $4m for the shire’s roads program, $815,000 to replace plant, $106,000 to fund community events in partnership with Bendigo Bank and $185,000 for planning and concept design work.

Cr Roe said the shire had adopted its lowest rates rise in decades at a special council meeting.

“As well as being the lowest rates rise in almost 30 years, it was also the third consecutive year with no increase in waste charges, and will include the rollout of a new recycling bin service to town sites and rural living areas within the shire at no additional cost to ratepayers,’’ he said.

“While the economic outlook is unknown, we believe this rate increase is a balanced approach for businesses and community.

“Even with a 1.75 per cent rates rise, we are still able to provide and manage the expectation of high quality service delivery, and contributions toward community infrastructure such as foreshore and sporting facilities.

“As opportunities for grant funding are diminishing, we as a council need to respond accordingly.”

The shire’s 2017-18 Budget has been set at $20.3m and incorporates increases from public utilities such as Western Power (10 per cent), Water Corporation (6 per cent) and has absorbed staffing increases due to a recent restructuring of the organisation.

It also included vehicle registrations (2.5 per cent), which has since been reversed.

On Wednesday, June 28 the WA Local Government Association said vehicle licencing concessions for council vehicles had been reinstated after the Upper House voted to reverse a decision made by the former Barnett Government to remove the concessions which would cost local governments $10.7m a year.

Attempts to impose the costs of recovering the State’s financial mess on local communities have been dealt a blow with the reinstatement of vehicle licencing concessions for Council vehicles.

The Upper House yesterday voted to reverse a decision late last year by the former Barnett Government to remove the concessions which would cost Local Governments $10.7 million per annum.

President Lynne Craigie said WALGA had pushed for the reversal in the lead up to the state election with a public campaign with outstanding and strong advocacy from a core of country councils in particular the Shire of Corrigin.

Cr Craigie said during the Upper House debate it was suggested the $10.7m funding that would now be lost to the state government could be recovered by cuts to local road funding.

“I suspect everyone appreciates the financial situation in which the State finds itself and the Government will make remedial decisions but simply shifting costs to local communities is both lazy and unfair,” she said.

“Local government wants to participate in helping to improve the State’s financial health and would welcome an opportunity to discuss options with the state government.”