FREMANTLE has topped local councils for rate increases this year, but it comes as the city gears up to pay for its Kings Square project and a new rubbish collection system.
Freo’s rates will go up by 2.9 per cent, Cockburn residents can expect a 1.9 per cent increase and Melville burghers will be cheering their council’s frugality after its councillors on Tuesday adopted a 0.9 per cent increase.
Fremantle’s $150.1m budget includes $46.3m for Kings Square, almost $1m for the three-bin FOGO waste management system, $743,000 for more CCTV, and $250,000 to revamp the town hall’s interior.
“After years in planning and preparation, this year will see the Kings Square renewal project really ramp up, with the bulk of the construction of the new buildings taking place,” says Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt.
“This is truly a once-in-a-generation project, which will completely revitalise Fremantle’s civic heart, attract thousands of new workers and residents and be the catalyst for millions of dollars of further investment.”
Cockburn’s budget includes $3.3m for the Spearwood Avenue bridge, $3m for Jandakot Road from Berrigan to Solomon and $2m for the Wetlands Education Centre stage 1 but lacks the big-ticket items of previous years.
The council took a dig at the state government over increased charges, noting an Emergency Services Levy increase of 10 per cent had been described as “modest”.
Melville deputy mayor Matthew Woodall says the 0.9 increase was the council’s lowest in 20 years, and given it was the equivalent of CPI represented no increase in real terms.
“This is one of the lowest rate rises in the metro area and recognises that many people in the Melville community are doing it tough in the current economic environment,” Cr Woodall said.
The budget included $3.8m to upgrade Shirley Strickland Reserve, $1.9m to upgrade LeisureFit Booragoon and $3.2m for a new library and cultural centre at Booragoon.
by STEVE GRANT