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Shire of Esperance councillors to vote on proposed six per cent rates increase for 2022-23

Shire of Esperance councillors on Tuesday will vote on a proposed 6 per cent rates increase as part of the 2022-23 budget.

Citing the “pressures of inflation,” the Shire proposed a 6 per cent rates increase for the coastal town and will vote on the draft budget on Tuesday.

In a report prepared for councillors, Shire staff said a “considerable effort” was made to keep any rate increase to a minimum.

“Key local and Statewide issues have influenced the budget proposed,” the special meeting agenda item report said.

“For example, the continuing skilled labour shortages, higher contractor fees, the extraordinary rise in the cost of fuel by 20 per cent and constraints on building materials and supplies, such as (a) bitumen cost increase of 50 per cent.

“The Shire’s Enterprise Bargaining Agreement also included a four per cent increase in the 2022-23 financial year, along with the legislated Superannuation Guarantee increase by 0.5 per cent.

“For these economic reasons, and with contingency for the pressures of inflation council have made earnest measures to minimise the increase in Shire rates to 6 per cent.”

The 2022-23 budget outlines several capital works, including $73,500 for LNS gas appliance replacements, $400,000 for the Grass Patch bush fire brigade shed and $1,432,000 earmarked for the Flinders Estate land development.

It also includes $15,650,000 in road upgrades and a $2,059,000 building maintenance program, with a further $147,000 earmarked for a lighting upgrade at the Civic Centre Auditorium.

In a special council meeting on Tuesday morning, councillors will be asked to authorise the income and expenditure report, impose the new rates, and adopt the new budget.

If approved, the general residential, commercial, industrial and vacant land rate will sit at 10.780¢ in the dollar, with rural rates to be 0.571¢ in the dollar.

The minimum rate for each will be $1273.

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