City of Rockingham Council has adopted its 2020/2021 budget

PIC: Supplied.

At its meeting on Tuesday 23 June 2020, the City of Rockingham Council adopted its budget for the 2020/2021 financial year.

The budget was adopted in line with Council’s commitment in March 2020 not to increase rates, fees and charges.

While the City has had to amend both the revenues and expenditure proposed in its Business Plan in response to COVID-19 it will continue to deliver the major projects and services that are required of it as one of the fastest growing local government areas in Perth.

Despite Council’s commitment to collect the same amount of rates as in 2019/2020, the State Government has proceeded with the statutory revaluation of property values. Property valuations are adjusted by Landgate every three years and 2020/2021 is a revaluation year.

This statutory revaluation is beyond the City’s control and as adjustments to property values are not uniform there will be differences for individual properties. This revaluation would have seen 29% of residential ratepayers required to pay more in rates than they did last year, while 71% would remain the same or decrease.

In light of this, Council has committed to provide a concession to the ratepayers with property rated as GRV-Residential who would have paid more in rates during the 2020/2021 financial year due to the revaluation. The concessions will cost approximately $840,000.

“In adopting this budget, consideration has been given to the challenges posed by COVID-19,” City of Rockingham Mayor Barry Sammels said.

“Council’s decision is aimed at ensuring no residential ratepayer will pay more than what would have applied in the previous financial year. This will help impacted households by providing concessions to assist during the COVID-19 period.

“Going forward we will continue to deliver crucial infrastructure projects to stimulate the local economy and meet the demands that come with being a major outer metropolitan growth area.”

Rates collected in the budget contribute towards the operation of vital services and facilities including roads, libraries, sporting facilities, community events, infrastructure projects and the maintenance of parks and gardens.

During COVID-19 the City has taken a number of steps to support the community including increasing the size of its Community Grants Program, waiving fees for alfresco dining, writing off commercial rent for City tenancies where the tenants have been financially impacted, and is developing a Financial Hardship Policy for those experiencing difficulty paying their rates.

The City will also provide several flexible options for residents to pay their rates. These include Rates Smoothing, instalment payments and direct debits either weekly, fortnightly or monthly. In responding to the COVID-19 impacts, no instalment interest or administration fees will be applied to these payment arrangements.

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