Shire rates set to rise 7.2 per cent
By Michael Sinclair-Jones
PROPERTY rates in the Shire of Toodyay are set to rise 7.2 per cent.
Toodyay councillors voted 5-0 last month to advertise the proposed new rates (left) for public comment.
If adopted, the new budget measures will add $140 a year to household bills for town properties that pay $2000 in annual rates.Read more
Toodyay farmers will pay about $700 more on average farm rates of about $10,000 annually, though some larger local rural producers pay much more each year.
Minimum rates will also rise by $39 to $1390 for the 2023-24 financial year.
Actual dollar amounts to be paid on most Toodyay properties may vary, depending on fluctuations in State land valuations.
Toodyay has six ‘differential’ rate categories based on land values set by an independent WA Valuer-General appointed by the State Governor.
Only five of Toodyay’s eight councillors were present for last month’s vote (Cr Phil Hart via videolink), which was carried by an absolute majority, as required by law.
It was passed without objection or debate.
Cr Mick McKeown submittd an apology for his absence, and others who missed the vote were Crs Steve McCormick and Danielle Wrench.
All councillors attended budget workshops after planning began last December.
Shire Corporate and Community Services Manager Tabitha Bateman reported that shire rates had increased by 8.6 per cent since 2019-20 but the Consumer Price Index had risen by 16.4 per cent – almost double the shire’s proposed rate rise.
Shire President Rosemary Madacsi said the local government cost index, construction costs and external wage increases has also risen faster than shire rate increases.
Shire waste disposal costs were expected to rise by up to 48 per cent, and electricity charges – including for street lighting – faced an expected seven per cent increase.
“Additionally in the last year, the shire has experienced significant cost increases of 5-15 per cent for many contracts, materials and capital works,” President Madacsi said.
Road construction costs had increased by 14 per cent for asphalt and 30 per cent for bitumen.
The community expected shire assets to be maintained in a reasonable state and fit for purpose.
However, the shire was aware of the impact of rate increases on cost-of-living pressures.
“When making decisions about rate increases, the shire carefully weighs the need for additional revenue against the potential burden it may place on ratepayers,” President Madacsi said.
“The shire strives to find a balance that ensures the sustainability of essential services while considering affordability for the community.
“Any changes will be considered in line with submissions received during the advertising period or changes in State valuations before the budget is adopted.”
Ms Bateman said the shire’s 2023-24 budget was based on a seven per cent overall rate increase to raise $7.5 million.
The shire had worked closely with mining companies to develop a maintenance agreement to manage additional costs.
This followed last year’s State rejection of a new Toodyay mining rate, which was subsequently quashed in the State Administrative Tribunal.
The proposed new rate rise would generate an extra $425,000 in revenue compared with the amount raised in 2022-23.
Ms Bateman said ongoing shire costs included $100,000 in annual loan repayments for the Toodyay Recreation Centre.
The proposed new budget aimed for a break-even result, she said.