Fremantle’s nightclubs are lining up for a postponement of council fees to help the entertainment industry fight back from the closures and disruptions caused by COVID-19.
However, the move is likely to cost local households and owners of other local businesses, with Fremantle City staff proposing a 6 percent rate increase for most of its other taxpayers.
Fremantle’s 2022-23 rating strategy, which suggests scrapping higher rates for nightclubs, was due to be considered by a council committee on Wednesday.
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Under the proposal of Matt Hammond, Fremantle’s city manager, all businesses in the port city’s CBD would be eligible for some form of tariff reduction — possibly even a tariff reduction — to counteract the effect of CPI hikes.
But regular taxpayers would be forced to pay more to balance council records, with even the cheapest rates in the area rising 6 percent from last year.
“It is recommended that the remaining fare categories be adjusted upwards to offset the impact of the adjustments to the rates for city center commercial and nightclubs,” Mr. Hammond wrote in a report to City Council.
If approved as prepared, venues such as Metropolis Fremantle and Hugos would be spared a “nightclub tax” and considered in the same rate-paying spirit as all other businesses in the CBD for the first time in more than a decade.
Mr. Hammond has proposed setting minimum rates for households and businesses at $1481, up $84 from this year.
Owners of vacant residential land would pay a minimum of $1434, which is $81 more than this year.
The committee was asked to approve advertising for the tariff plan for three weeks before the full council considers and commits to the final draft to support its 2022-23 budget.
East Fremantle has also advertised its proposed fares, bolstered by a desire to bring in 3 percent more fare revenue than in 2021-22.
The advertised proposal sets minimum rates for households at $1178 and minimum for business owners at $1762.
Fremantle introduced higher fees for nightclubs in 2011 to cover rising costs attributed to cleaning up late-night revelers, extended forest rangers’ patrols in the early hours, and CCTV surveillance.
The ‘nightclub tax’ was unsurprisingly opposed by the three nightclubs operating at the time, claiming that their customers weren’t the only ones to be watched on CCTV or left a mess on the streets and that their businesses sent people and money to Fremantle. Brought.
“Fremantle’s central business district benefits greatly from having a location like Metropolis Fremantle,” said the club owner David Wallace.
His counterpart at The Clink – which became Hugos – suggested that club-goers would eventually wear higher prices.
Glen Dougall, the recently appointed CEO of the City, served as the City’s spokesperson on the matter in 2011 in his role as Director of Corporate Services.
“The city and many community members feel that nightclubs and their customers contribute to the need for additional cleaning and security services,” he said.