Business Specialist CFP | Local Government Expert | Political Adviser
Subiaco ratepayers warm to consultation on budgets
Council budgets are not like business budgets, they are embedded with projects set by council a long time ago. Getting a new project approved without a significant rate increase is tricky.
When the Regal Theatre approached Subiaco Council for a grant to replace its seating, Subiaco’s draft budget was set with an increase of 4.65% but only included a fraction of the $500,000 required (Ref, the Post, 5 Sept, p.1). Finding the extra funds would mean additional 2% top up.
Having campaigned against force amalgamations, and rebutting the Premier’s claims that larger councils would have lower rates, I consulted with Subiaco ratepayers through my email list whether or not they supported an additional rate increase of 2% to fund new seating. Surprisingly, the majority who replied, some 68%, were in favour of a rate increase as long as it was a once off, and not embedded into the rates for further increase.
However I was not in favour of a 6.65% rate increase. In the end a list of projects to cull was produced, the Regal Theatre got its funding for new seats, and Subiaco ratepayers ended up with a 2.9% increase, an increase I did not support.
Subiaco Council’s budget is again up for review in November 2015. It has come to light that state government cost-shifting has been embedded with a “review” of Subiaco’s Strategic Community Plan. This compulsory plan has already cost hundreds of thousands of dollars during “Think 2030”. It’s to be reviewed costing ratepayers even more money. I will be consulting with ratepayers on this one, and any other cost-shifting from the state government to council ratepayers because your say matters.