The city of Wanneroo will implement a fare increase of 3.75 percent as part of its 2022-23 budget — a cut from the initially advertised 4 percent increase.
On Tuesday evening, the Wanneroo council voted 12-1 to approve the $235 million budget at a special council meeting, again introducing tiered rates for the next financial year.
Deputy Mayor Brett Treby said the rate hike would be less than $1 weekly for most residential taxpayers.
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This will generate $147.3 million in fee revenue for the city, which makes up the bulk of the $211.9 million budget operating revenue.
The budget also has operating expenses of $220.7 million, including personnel costs of $83.7 million and materials and contract costs of $79.7 million.
After the cut, dollar cents for improved homes will be 8.0638 instead of the advertised 8.0832, and the minimum payment will be $1035 instead of $1038.
Commercial and industrial enhanced rates will now be set at 8.0770 with a minimum payment of $1408, down from 8.0965 and $1411.
To encourage the development of vacant housing blocks, vacant lots will be set at 14,4784 with a minimum payment of $941. But vacant commercial and industrial land will be charged at 7,5301 and minimum amounts of $1408.
However, Cr Vinh Nguyen said he could not support the rate increase because he believed that financial stress was the most dominant issue residents face.
“We need to cut a lot more fat than we have done,” he said.
“We need a major reset to consider our services, the mandatory and discretionary spending, and value for money for our residents.
“Many savings are possible. There are levers we can consider to work towards an interest rate freeze.”
Cr Nguyen said that while he was unable to file it at a special council meeting formally, he also had a petition with hundreds of signatures indicating that those residents did not want a rate hike, citing concerns about the rising costs of fuel, groceries, labor, rent, and interest rates.
Cr Treby said the council had provided a “fair, reasonable, sensible and practical budget” that considered the growing community’s needs, including allocating $58.4 million for investment projects.
Highlights include $19.5 million in athletic facilities, including completing the Splendid Park cycling facility in Yanchep, and $4.6 million in community buildings, including $1.53 million for upgrades to the Clarkson Youth Center.
A $10.3 million investment will improve road safety, including widening Flynn Drive from Wanneroo Road to Pinjar Road and Gnangara Road from Hartman Drive to Mirrabooka Avenue, and $2.8 million will go toward paths and trails throughout the city.
About $5 million will be spent on upgrading city parks, including replacing playground equipment, shade structures, picnic shelters, barbecues, and drinking fountains.
A $4.8 million allocation will assist wildlife conservation through fore and coastal management activities and bushland conservation, including beach access upgrades, dune restoration, maintenance, and Mindarie Breakwater upgrades.
An enhanced CCTV network for the Wangara Industrial Area will receive $1.3 million, along with CCTV and auto-closing gates installed at four public parking lots in Quinns Rocks, Marangaroo, and Alexander Heights.
The detailed design of a new animal care center is also underway.
Cr Treby said budget priorities were heavily influenced by the themes of the city’s Strategic Community Plan for 2021-31, “which was shaped by direct engagement with residents, community groups, local businesses and other stakeholders in the city of Wanneroo”.
“We are committed to delivering the programs, services, facilities, and infrastructure that our community relies on and expects, and this budget will ensure we can continue to do so,” he said.
“We are now delivering value for money for our taxpayers, residents, community groups, and local businesses investing in the future city of Wanneroo, which will be home to more than 285,000 people by 2031.”
As part of the budget approval process, the council has also requested that the general manager present a report to a future council meeting on establishing a service review working group.
Wanneroo 2022-23 budget overview
$57.3 million worth of roads, trails, and streetlights
$33.7 million in waste and recycling
$43.7 million in sports facilities
$18.7 million in community amenities
$29.9 million in parks and playgrounds
$18.9 million for community health, safety, and emergency management
$12.1 million for conservation and foreshore management
$10.8 million in libraries, museums, and heritage programs
$7.1 million in board
$2.4 million for business and economic development