Lone council voice speaks against rate rise

Toby HusseyAlbany Advertiser
The City of Albany Administration and Civic Centre building North Road Albany.
Camera IconThe City of Albany Administration and Civic Centre building North Road Albany. Credit: Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

The sole councillor to publicly oppose the City of Albany’s proposed rate increase for 2019-20 says her job is to heed resident complaints, after much disapproval on social media.

Cr Alison Goode was the only opponent of the City’s draft budget at Tuesday night’s Community and Corporate Services Committee meeting, following a 25-minute discussion behind closed doors.

The preliminary vote to adopt the budget carried 9-1.

The budget will next go to the council on July 23 for a final vote.

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Cr Goode said she opposed the proposed 2.95 per cent rate rise, which would see average residential rates across the City exceed $2000, because she knew “just how bad it is out there”.

“There are people who are really struggling,” she said.

“Everything is going up.

“I am so acutely aware of that, that I feel uncomfortable in putting on that size rate increase.

“There are some things I’m happy with (in the budget), there are some I’m definitely not happy with.”

Cr Goode, who was Albany’s first female mayor from 1999-2007, said it was “very easy to get caught up in the hype” of big projects while on council.

“If you’re not careful you can lose touch with your community,” she said. “Maybe we need to look more closely at other areas within the budget — I just feel our community is doing it really hard.”

Cr Goode said she had not identified specific projects that could be delayed or scrapped to reduce the rate increase, but supported the proposed funding for roads, footpaths and the City of Albany operations.

As the July 23 budget vote will require a majority of votes to pass, Cr Goode’s single vote is unlikely to have an impact.

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