Shire rubbish charges, rates and fees to rise
By Michael Sinclair-Jones
TOODYAY residents will pay higher fees and charges, and most rates will increase by an average of 3.05 per cent in a new Shire of Toodyay budget adopted last month.
Councillors have voted themselves a 17.4 per cent pay rise overall, and administration staff salaries will rise by 15 per cent.
The cost of household rubbish collections will rise from $241 to $259 a year, along with price increases for a range of other shire fees and community services.Read more
The council voted 6-0 (Shire President Rosemary Madacsi and Cr McKeown absent) to adopt the increases after attending four months of budget workshops.
However, the shire was still waiting at the end of last month for State Government approval to strike a new mining rate to raise $200,000 to repair local roads damaged by mining trucks and other heavy equipment.
If the new rate is rejected, the shire says it will examine other ways to pay the shortfall.
The shire budget follows a 7.6 per cent increase in the national consumer price index to March, three bank mortgage rate increases since May and a Federal Government warning that inflation is likely to worsen.
These and other pressures – including the COVID-19 pandemic – have caused local house prices to soar and created a rental property shortage which has hit low-income Toodyay families with higher rents.
New shire fees include a 150 per cent increase from $200 to $500 for the Toodyay Theatre Group to use the shire-owned Memorial Hall – reportedly the group’s first rent increase for several years.
The Toodyay Football Club will pay 13 per cent more to use the Showground sports oval and pavilion with the fee rising from $750 to $847 a year, and the Toodyay Tennis Club will pay four per cent more, from $2750 to $3000 a year, to use new courts at the Toodyay Recreation Centre.
Tennis club use of shire-owned premises in Fiennes Street for which it pays a peppercorn rent expires next February.
The council has set a small operating surplus of $10,000 in its $14.4 million shire budget, with about half raised from rates and the rest from grants and other income.
The council budgeted for a similar small operating surplus last year and has not run an operating budget deficit since 2017-18.
As reported two months ago, minimum rates will remain the same as last year at $1351 per property, and the overall rates take will increase by 2.5 per cent, as set by the shire’s 10-year long term financial plan.
However, shire wages will increase 15 per cent to $4.3 million, which Shire CEO Suzie Haslehurst said was due to staff award pay rises and the addition of a part-time communications officer and a depot trainee.
She said outside workers were paid under a separate enterprise bargaining agreement which was currently under review.
Toodyay’s wage costs were comparable with other similar shires at about 55-60 per cent of total rates revenue, with some other shires higher at about 70 per cent, Ms Haslehurst said.
Councillor sitting fees and allowances will rise by 17.4 per cent overall.
The new rate for a shire president is $4600 a month, the deputy gets $1940 and seven other councillors get $1270 each.
The pay rises are 15 per cent less than the top rate for shires the size of Toodyay and “acknowledges the significant commitment and voluntary service of elected members within their communities”, the shire said.
Land rates will be payable in full on October 12, with an option to spread payments across four quarterly instalments.