CPI pledge lost

FREMANTLE rates are going up 3.95 per cent, while Melville council’s aren’t going up at all and Cockburn is poised to adopt a 1.5 per cent increase.

Fremantle council adopted the rate rise in its 2021/22 budget on Wednesday, another blow to former mayor Brad Pettitt’s 2017 claim Kings Square could be redeveloped “without the need to raise rates above CPI levels”.

National CPI is currently sitting on 1.1 per cent, though the council was quick to point out 3.95 per cent is only slightly higher than WALGA’s Local Government Cost Index of 3.2 per cent.

The budget is being sold as one of “renewal” with a focus on updating community assets and suburban infrastructure.

It includes $270,000 towards replacing the changerooms, toilets and cafe at South Beach, $760,000 for a mountain bike trail in Booyeembara Park and a $1.1m contribution to underground power in Hilton.

Renew

Deputy mayor Andrew Sullivan said with many CBD projects coming to an end it was time to consolidate and renew existing assets.

“Of course, we’re still investing in heritage, including $2.2m towards important restoration works at Fremantle Markets, $200,000 for hte Fremantle Education Centre and $30,000 to restore a number of heritage walls at places like Arthur Head and Monument Hill.”

Acting CEO Glen Dougall said the 3.95 per cent increase would mean an average increase of $82 for ratepayers.

He said there had been no impact on the budget from the collapse of Walyalup Centre builder Pindan.

Melville mayor George Gear said while some Covid-related concessions had been wound back in his council’s budget, they were still aware of its impact on residents.

“My view of it was that a lot of people have not had a pay rise in a long time, and have had to tighten their belts, and the city should do that as well,” Mr Gear said.

In line with the Morrison government’s approach, business concessions had mostly been axed, while those which remained were targeted at helping the “ordinary ratepayer”, Mr Gear told the Herald.

by STEVE GRANT

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