Shire rates set to rise 5pc
By Michael Sinclair-Jones
A FIVE per cent rate rise this year is being advertised by the Shire of Toodyay.
It aims to raise an extra $330,000 after last year’s shire rates were frozen to compensate for Covid-19 lockdowns and job losses.
The shire says the proposed rate rise represents an increase of between $82 and $391 in median rates.Read more
Councillors have yet to finalise a shire budget but are required by law to advertise intended rate rises for public comment prior to adoption.
Last month’s council meeting was told that owners of some small non-residential rural properties could face rate increases of up to 18 per cent.
But an average 12 per cent fall in State land valuations in that sector would limit actual dollar increases to about five per cent overall.
Last year’s median rates in that category were $2500, and this year would be $2620 – a 4.8 per cent increase.
Land valuations are set by the State Government and can be challenged by an objection to Landgate within 60 days of receipt of a shire rates notice.
Rates notices won’t be issued until after the council adopts a budget this month for the 2021-22 financial year.
Shire CEO Suzie Haslehurst said she had sought State permission to delay the budget beyond an August 31 deadline set by local government law.
This was because it had taken until August 19 to upload latest State land valuations into new shire software to produce accurate budget figures for the council to work with.
This year’s rates are expected to raise a total of $6.65 million for a projected budget surplus of $1.6 million.
The anticipated surplus includes projects that were delayed or not completed last year, and carry-over funding from 2020-21 that was yet to be spent, Ms Haslehurst said.
Shire CEO Suzie Haslehurst said detailed budget costings would be published when the shire’s new budget is finalised later this month, probably at a special council meeting on a date yet to be decided.
New Corporate and Community Services Manager Tabitha Bateman reported last month that the shire’s new $14 million recreation centre would need $400,000 to operate this financial year.
It was later confirmed to The Herald that this does not include loan repayments totalling $312,000 a year for the next 20 years, with the first six-monthly instalment due in December.
Councillors voted 6-0 at a special council meeting last month (Crs Brian Rayner an apology and Ben Bell absent on council-approved leave) to advertise a proposed five per cent rate rise for public comment.