Shire freezes rates

Shire freezes rates

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Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale president Michelle Rich. Photograph - Aaron Van Rongen.

The Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale’s next budget will be developed on a zero per cent rate increase in a bid to address the financial hardship posed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale council voted in favour of the move to freeze rates during a special meeting on April 6 and came a fortnight after Premier Mark McGowan appealed to the state’s local government body, The West Australian Local Government Association (WALGA) to urge local governments to place a freeze on rates, fees and charges.

With the unprecedented health crisis sending shockwaves throughout the community, Shire president Michelle Rich said the council was committed to providing support and relief to residents and businesses.

“These are extraordinary times and we know that many households and businesses in the Shire are doing it tough,” she said.

“With tonight’s decision to have the 2020/21 Shire Budget developed with a zero per cent rate increase, we hope this provides ratepayers with certainty regarding their next rates notice.”

As part of the decision, the shire council also vowed to donate up to $5000 to local community groups and non-for-profit organisations responding to those suffering hardship as a result of the pandemic.

Examiner Newspapers understands councillor Rob Coales had attempted to move an alternate motion, calling on councillors to forgo their councillor payment for the next three months in a bid to save funds for emergency coronavirus relief.

However, the motion was lost.

Speaking to the alternate motion, councillor Coales said it was important that elected representatives take the lead and make the difficult decisions necessary during the unprecedented crisis.

It is understood an unconfirmed version of the minutes will be uploaded to the shire’s website later today, April 9.