The City of Albany council has adopted a 2021-22 budget headlined by a 1.5 per cent rate rise and $125.5 million to be spent on community projects and road network upgrades. Councillors unanimously endorsed the budget with no debate on Tuesday night, with City chief executive Andrew Sharpe calling it a “very responsible budget” produced in a “very challenging time” as the impact of COVID-19 continues. “This budget is really going to set us up well for the future,” Mr Sharpe said. The 1.5 per cent rate rise will see the minimum rate increase $16 from last year to $1067 for gross rental valuation properties and $17 to $1153 for unimproved valuation properties after rates were frozen last year. It is just more than half the 2.95 per cent rate hike delivered in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 budgets. Cr Chris Thomson said he believed the budget showed “responsible management” compared with similar local government areas. “When you compare that with the rate rises that have been approved elsewhere in the south of the State, I think we are in pretty good stead,” he said. The City’s total expected revenue for the next financial year is $63,662,725. It is proposed the City will spend $125.5m over the next year, up $16.8m from the 2020-21 budget. Roads are the big-ticket items of this year’s budget, with $19m set to be spent on “renewal, upgrade, maintenance and expansion” of the City’s road network. Targets of the funding include resealing Frenchman Bay Road, shoulder works along the full length of Lower Denmark Road, sealing Marbellup Road North, shoulder works on Palmdale Road, and a partial reconstruction of South Stirling Road. Highly anticipated community and sporting facilities are set for a shot in the arm, with $500,000 for the Albany Motorsport Park, $500,000 for the Albany Artificial Surf Reef, $524,000 for Albany Tennis Centre, and $300,000 for the Albany Surf Life Saving Club. About $1.9m is earmarked for waste capital projects, including $1.3m towards implementing a landfill gas extraction system at the Hanrahan Landfill Site, a project carried forward from last year. Playground upgrades will receive $150,000, while $40,000 will go towards CCTV, and rural halls will get a facelift with $317,021 in funding. More than $5m is allocated for airport infrastructure upgrades, $375,286 for the National Anzac Centre refresh, $80,846 to upgrade campgrounds at Torbay Inlet, and $223,188 for trails strategy recreation construction. About $25.5m will be spent on a “significant volume” of projects carried forward from the previous financial year after they were put on hold because of COVID-19. Employee costs are expected to total nearly $28m. Councillors’ meeting attendance fees will be restored, but not increased, at $31,678 per member after councillors opted for a 20 per cent pay cut over six months last year. Mayor Dennis Wellington’s combined fees and allowance have been restored to $137,269, after also taking a cut last year. A full 12-month Albany Leisure and Aquatic membership for adults is set to rise $44 to $924, with a $37 rise to $787 for concessions. Aquatic memberships increase $27 to $567 for adults, $23 to $483 for children, and $54 to $1134 for families. Dog and cat registration fees will remain the same.