City of Rockingham plan looks at another rate rise

Stuart HortonSound Telegraph
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Ratepayers in the City of Rockingham are facing the prospect of a 3.6 per cent rate rise in the 2019/20 financial year.

A rating methodology report has been prepared for the city’s corporate and community development committee, which was set to discuss the proposal at its monthly pre-council meeting on Tuesday.

The city’s business plan indicated the need to generate $92.097 million in the 2019/20 finanacial year to service current and future requirements, including detailed financial information.

The yield from all rates for the 2019/20 financial year with the 3.6 per cent rise is projected to be $90.81 million, not including interim rates, which are anticipated to make up any shortfall.

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A differential rate on gross rental valuation properties, which make up about 99.5 per cent of the total rates levied in the city, will be 7.26200 cents in the dollar for residential land.

This will apply to any land used or designed, or adapted for use, for the purpose of a dwelling and includes vacant land within the residential, development, rural, special rural, special residential, commercial, district town centre, primary centre waterfront village, primary centre urban village, primary centre city centre, primary centre city living, primary centre campus and primary centre urban living zones under the city’s Town Planning Scheme No. 2.

The report proposes the minimum rate on all gross rental value properties be increased from $1158 to $1200 for the 2019/20 financial year, or 3.6 per cent more than the 2018/19 rate in the dollar.

A differential rate of 8.58600 cents in the dollar will apply to non-residential land, which is all land other than residential land.

The council has implemented an 18.2 per cent differential rate on non-residential properties to assist in the cost of infrastructure specifically designed to support the non-residential sector.

A general rate of 0.1025 cents in the dollar is proposed on all unimproved valuation land, which generates about 0.5 per cent of the city’s rate yield.

The UV-improved rate is a decrease of 0.8 per cent on the 2018/19 rate, and it is proposed the minimum rate for unimproved value properties will fall from $630 to $625 in the 2019/20 financial year.

The committee recommendation will be on the agenda for next week’s council meeting ahead of a final vote at a future meeting.

Where the rates will go: City’s vision for facilities

Sport and recreation projects totalling more than $123 million will form part of the City of Rockingham’s 10-year business plan, which will run until the 2028/29 financial year.

The plan, which was set to be discussed by the City’s corporate and community development committee on Tuesday, sets the framework for a financial overview of the City’s operations and must be reviewed and adopted by the council in November and May each financial year.

The last version of the business plan was adopted at the November council meeting, and the approved or adopted committee recommendation will be discussed at next Tuesday’s council meeting.

Among the major community infrastructure plan projects outlined are $20.123 million in 2019/20 for the fields, pavilion and civil works on the Baldivis District Sporting Complex, $18.8 million in 2020/21 for the Baldivis Indoor Recreation Centre, $18.627 million in 2024/25 for Aqua Jetty stage 2 and $18.528 million in 2031/32 for the Lark Hill Sportsplex northern expansion.

A report to the committee said given the population growth of the City, the construction of new facilities needed to be matched with the replacement of existing assets and buildings.

The report also stated that while Millar Road Landfill continued to provide significant revenue to the City, action needed to be taken to ensure the landfill assisted in providing a revenue stream to the City and to prepare for a time when extraordinary revenue from the facility did not exist.

Given this, the report said the City was not in a position to finance new facilities without increasing rates at or above 3.6 per cent for the next three years.

The report said the business plan needed to be flexible enough to allow for changes that may arise and when those situations did arise, the council should be prepared to consider varying its plans to take advantage of any changes.

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