Councillors to review rates increase

Saskia AdystiGreat Southern Herald

The Shire of Katanning is planning to increase rates by 4.63 per cent and the council has organised a special meeting to finalise the 2017-18 budget proposal.

The proposed rate change was flagged due to a number of factors, including cuts to a direct road grant from Main Roads WA, which has led to a loss of $48,556 in the Shire’s road maintenance budget.

The removal of a community pools revitalisation grant has also led to a $32,000 loss.

On top of all of that, an increase in utility bills — 10.9 per cent for electricity and 6 per cent for water — has also played a factor in the new rates.

This year’s budget proposal also shows no increase in councillors’ attendance fees as it remains at $10,000 a councillor, with an annual allowance for the president of $20,000 and $5000 for the deputy president.

Shire finance manager Libby French has requested the council adopt the new rates.

The budget proposal hasbeen presented and reviewed by councillors on three separate occasions since the July council meeting but a decision has not been finalised.

Councillor Martin Van Koldenhoven said councillors were not satisfied with what was being presented.

“There’s much to look at and much to discuss and that is what we want; we want to look at the figures first,” he said.

Shire chief executive Julian Murphy said there was nothing particularly extraordinary in this year’s budget as the rates increase was less than what it was last year — the 2016-17 budget showed an increase of 4.95 per cent.

The final decision on the budget will be reached at the next council meeting on August 29.

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