Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington says a proposed 4.95 per cent rate increase for homeowners over the next financial year was a “responsible” move as the City faces rising operational and construction costs.
Councillors on Tuesday will vote on the City of Albany’s proposed 2022-23 budget, which could see the City’s average minimum rate for gross rental valuation properties increase by $53 to $1120 and an increase of $57 to $1210 for unimproved valuation properties.
The proposed rise comes after councillors voted to freeze its rates in 2019 to relieve the financial burden on ratepayers during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, followed by a “modest” rate rise of 1.5 per cent last year.
A 4.95 per cent rate increase is expected to generate $42,130,150 — an increase in $2,269,495 from last year.
Mr Wellington said a rate rise of 4.95 per cent was “careful management” and necessary to deliver essential services and projects.
“The fact that the costs for roads have gone through the roof, the cost of fuel to run our vehicles has gone through the roof, all of those sorts of things have compounded into the problem,” he said.
“We think we have been fairly responsible with 4.95 per cent
“It’s about as good as we can do in terms of mediating the rise that is necessary, but still covering the costs of the work that we need to do.”
The draft budget released to the public ahead of the meeting reveals the City’s revenue over the next financial year is set to total $67,545,724 while expenditure will hit $75,937,258.
The City’s road network will be targeted with about $14.3 million and $2.5 million to fund pathway works.
Some long-awaited City of Albany projects are earmarked in the budget including $6,781,998 for the Albany Artificial Surf Reef and $7,119,502 for the Albany Motorsport Park.
Other big-ticket items include $542,000 towards the Albany Tennis Centre, $2,137,188 for trails strategy recreation construction and a further $739,338 for the Middleton Beach Coastal Enhancement Project.
Mr Wellington said it was particularly exciting to see significant funding in the budget for long-term projects including the Albany Motorsport Park and Albany Artificial Surf Reef.
“Both of them have been items that the people of Albany have been waiting for for such a long time and we have done particularly well in getting funding from Federal and State resources to enable those to go ahead,” he said.