Residents and commercial ratepayers within the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale can expect a 1.3 per cent increase in rates for the 2019/20 financial year after council adopted the increase this week.
The decision to impose the increase was debated on Monday night when councillors met for a special council meeting to adopt the 2019/20 budget, as well as the 2019/20 to 2028/29 long-term financial plan.
Council voted five votes to two in support of adopting the increase with councillors Michelle Rich, Dave Atwell, Bill Denholm, Morgan Byas and Keira McConkey all voting in support of the proposal.
Councillors Rob Coales and Jacqui See voted against the increase while councillors David Gossage and Sam Piipponen were absent from the meeting.
The proposed rates increase was advertised from June 20 to July 12 and received no objections from members of the public.
Councillor Morgan Byas opened the debate on Monday night, thanking the shire officers for their work on this year’s annual budget.
He said the shire had previously mapped out a two per cent increase per year in its long-term financial plan, so to therefore impose a 1.3 per cent increase instead showed that the shire was on the right track.
However councillors Rob Coales and Jacqui See said they couldn’t possibly support the increase.
Mr Coales said he thought the shire needed to give its ratepayers a break.
“I hear there were no submissions from the public for the proposed rates increase but on my Facebook page there was not one positive comment,” he said.
“A 1.3 per cent increase equates to about $301,000.
“There is $300,000 allocated for the scoping works for the Nature Splash Park plus $100,000 for Keirnan Street scoping and feasibility study, plus an extra $60,000 to our new CEO.
“That is a very quick assessment without going into further details for further cost savings for our ratepayers of how we could save at least $300,000 instead.”
Ms See agreed with Mr Coales saying she could not support the increase in ‘good conscience’.
“We have got a lot of people that are having to tighten their belts and I feel that we have to do the same,” she said.