Rockingham ratepayers are likely to need to find spare a pineapple and then some should council pass its proposed rate hike in the city’s upcoming budget. Council agreed on Tuesday night to advertise a proposed minimum residential rate of $1322 — $56 more than last year’s $1266 minimum — in a bid to keep up with rising inflation and service costs and a rapidly growing population. A report from city officers said the city needs to generate almost $105 million in rates to continue service delivery in the growing area. That figure equates to a 3.9 percent rise in the city’s rates revenue and would become the city’s third rate hike in as many years. City officers also projected the total rate yield for the 2023/24 financial year would be approximately $104.4m based on the proposed rates income, giving the city about $5m in extra rates revenue for the year. Councillor Craig Buchanan took the opportunity to speak against the proposed rates when council discussed its City Business Plan last Tuesday, claiming the plan was “strongly predicated on a set of key assumptions” including rate hikes that had not been appropriately negotiated. He said the projected 3.9 per cent increase in the city’s rates revenue would be “yet another burden” for ratepayers juggling the cost of living. “At a time where families are having to choose between putting food on the table, paying escalating bills and mortgage payments to keep a roof over their heads, I’m simply not comfortable associating my name with yet another burden on that list,” Cr Buchanan. Cr Buchanan said he could not “in good conscience” support the business plan as a whole, given his fundamental disagreement on the proposed rates. “I have no other option but to vote against it, to send a clear message that I am not happy with nor will I support the proposed rate increase,” he said. But chief executive Michael Parker said the city had made a series of spending concessions after engaging with councillors recently and pointed out that the revisions had brought down the proposed average rate yield jump from 5.4 per cent to 3.9. Deputy mayor Hayley Edwards echoed Mr Parker’s sentiments about the effectiveness of discussions so far around the proposed rates, commending city financial officers for facilitating extra feedback sessions in a bid to “stop politicising” rates each year. “Every year since I’ve been elected it is the same narrative, year in, year out,” Cr Edwards said. “The city officers have this time gone above and beyond, (arranged) extra councillor engagement sessions, and yet here we are again with the same narrative. “ The deputy mayor said she found the continued opposition to rate increases “quite disappointing”. “We all understand what families are going through out there . . . We understand also the cost the city has had to undergo and increase to keep delivering our services,” she said. Mayor Deb Hamblin said growth throughout the city meant an increased demand for new services as well as the replacement and maintenance of existing assets. The proposed schedule of rates will now be advertised for public consultation and likely will be debated at next month’s council meeting.