Shire rates and fees up 5pc
By Michael Sinclair-Jones
RATES, fees and charges will rise five per cent this financial year after the Toodyay Shire Council rejected a last-minute bid to adopt smaller increases.
Higher rates were approved 5-1 last month with Cr Mick McKeown against (Crs Ben Bell and Brian Rayner absent).
Toodyay rates did not rise last year due to the cost of Covid-19 emergency lockdowns.Read more
Shire CEO Suzie Haslehurst said a five per cent increase would generate a surplus of $80,000 in the current financial year.
Councillor payments would remain the same except for an additional $1000 travel allowance which will be shared by all elected members from a single fund.
Use of Toodyay’s new Recreation Centre facilities – including the swimming pool – will cost five per cent more, as will rubbish collection, hall hire, cemetery fees, planning applications and other costs.
The increases apply from October 1.
The council heard earlier that a four per cent rate rise would leave a $30,000 deficit.
However, the last-minute discovery of a $70,000 double entry in cost allocations would have turned it into a $40,000 surplus.
Cr Susan Pearce said the shire was in a precarious position after the expense of two major storms but needed to be mindful not to over-burden the community with increases.
Cr Phil Hart said roads had been under-funded for years – there was a legal and moral responsibility for future generations.
Shire Deputy President and Audit Committee Chair Beth Ruthven said a break-even budget was too risky “in these unpredictable times”.
“We have little in our reserves and we need to be in a more resilient position with a forward-thinking budget,” she said.