City moves forward as low rate rises continue

Published on Tuesday, 26 June 2018 at 7:17:36 PM

Mayor Shane Van Styn says despite the rising costs of running the City, more than 40% of ratepayers will receive a rate freeze whilst vital services and assets continue to be maintained and renewed.

After years of operating losses and deficits, a substantial campaign to get the City back on track and into a surplus position whilst keeping rates to a minimum has paid off.

With aggregate rates rising just 2.3%, City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn said the Budget has been balanced without putting ratepayers through high and unattainable rate rises.

“The newly adopted Budget will see 41% of residential properties pay $0 or less in rates than they did in 2017/18,” he said.

“And 67% of non-residential properties will also have the same applied with $0 or less rates this financial year.”

Minimum rates will remain frozen at $1,010.

Mayor Van Styn added despite Gross Rental Values declining, the fluctuation in State valuations had no relationship to the costs of delivering, maintaining and renewing the essential infrastructure, facilities, amenities and services for the community.

“The costs of running the City keep rising, regardless of the direction of movement of land valuations,” he said.

“Utilities such as electricity and water have risen not to mention the general inflation of the costs relevant to municipal works and services which is different from that reflected by the Consumer Price Index.

“Council will continue its strategic commitment to the whole community, maintaining functionality, amenities and safety by renewing infrastructure assets as they wear out.

“Through extensive engagement and consultation with our community regarding the range and level of services and our Capital Works Program, we know what the Community want and what they are willing to pay for.

“We, the Council and the City, want to ensure that each generation pays for the assets it consumes, and does not leave a legacy of renewal to be paid for by their children and grandchildren. 

“This Council inherited a major backlog of legacy renewal from years of neglect and we are proud of reaching the end of completing these legacy issues.

“We are now looking forward to growth,” Mayor Van Styn added.

In the newly adopted Budget, the City will spend close to $20 million on asset renewal including the construction and renewal of over 5800m of footpaths in various suburbs.

Included in the $20 million spend will be the renewal of over 16km of sealed roads and 47kms of unsealed roads.

New capital works announced in the Budget include the construction of the Animal Management Facility, a new SES building, construction of a new cell at Meru as well as the Airport runway program.

Of these large capital works, many have secured grant funding.

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