Council supports rate freeze to take pressure off

Council supports rate freeze to take pressure off

City of Armadale mayor Ruth Butterfield.

City of Armadale ratepayers have breathed a sigh of relief after the council supported a freeze on rates to lessen the financial burden on the community in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The decision was made during a special council meeting last week, with the council instructing the chief executive to prepare next year’s draft budget on the basis of a rate freeze – a move expected to alleviate pressure for the city’s 30,000 homeowners.

The council also backed a move to investigate the adoption of a Hardship Policy and other measures to assist ratepayers facing financial distress or left without work as a result of the pandemic.

The decision came just over a week after Premier Mark McGowan appealed to the state’s local government body to urge local governments to consider placing a freeze on rates, fees and charges to ease the financial pressure on families.

Mayor Ruth Butterfield took to social media to share the decision with ratepayers, a move which was met with praise from residents – many of whom congratulated the city for being proactive and sensible in its response to the crisis.

Ms Butterfield said she was very pleased that the council had been proactive in this space and hoped it could do more to support the community through these “terrible times”.

Upon advice from the state’s Health Department, the city’s administration has also made the decision to move a virtual model, closing buildings to the public and delivering services online in an effort to protect the community and staff.