FREMANTLE council is set to raise rates by 9 per cent.
Its finance committee voted to set the rate on Wednesday night, with Western Power’s shock announcement it will increase the council’s lighting bill by 45 per cent this year painted as the big villain.
Councillors had an alternate recommendation to put the rate up 8 per cent, but councillor Bryn Jones said with Western Power’s bill looming it made sense to choose the higher rate.
“It’s more sensible to advertise on the high side, and if Western Power can be convinced that their increase is outrageous, we could change it later,” he said.
Cr Jones said the current arrangement was put in place years ago during his first stint on council, with Western Power offering local councils dead-cheap electricity to run their street lights all night because
it was too expensive to keep winding down its power stations after hours.
Mayor Hannah Fitzhardinge said there’d be some irony if taxpayers were offered a discount on their power bills through this week’s budget (they got $400) only to have to hand it back via the council.
Ms Fitzhardinge said the council also needed to invest in its asset base if it didn’t want to simply shift the burden onto the next generation.