Figures don’t lie

Last year’s rate.

This year’s proposed rate.

FOR the benefit of the Fremantle Gazette, which had some difficulty grasping the maths behind Fremantle council’s latest rate rise, here’s a Chook handy guide.

According to the Gazette’s front-page splash this week, deputy mayor Andrew Sullivan “took to social media” to offer a “categoric denial” to last week’s Herald story that rates in Fremantle were rising by almost 10 per cent this year; it was “simply untrue and borderline scaremongering”.

But as they say; figures don’t lie.

On the left are the differential rates for last year, taken straight from the council’s website. On the right are the figures they’ve advertised for this year.

There are plenty of online calculators should the Gazette have bothered with some basic fact-checking; however, for those who can still manage a pencil and paper calculation, here goes: Divide the increase between the two rates by last year’s then multiply by 100 (0.08 – 0.073 = 0.007 ÷ 0.073 = 0.958 × 100 = 9.58%). Round it up to 9.6 per cent and that’s “almost 10 per cent” as we reported.

As noted (twice) in our story, that doesn’t mean a revenue increase for the council, as the rate rise is offset by a drop in local property values, meaning the average punter’s rates bill will remain roughly the same.

In the words of council CEO Philip St John: “Based on the data received from Landgate, gross rental values in the city of Fremantle have gone down by around 10 per cent on average, therefore the rate in the dollar will have to be increased by around 10 per cent to ensure the overall amount of revenue raised is maintained at the same level as last year.”

One response to “Figures don’t lie

  1. If our GDP continues to contract as it did in the last quarter then even keeping rates at the current level means an increase in rates in “real” terms.

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