Rising external costs impact City budget

Despite being slammed with escalating utility costs and reductions in grant funding the City has managed to keep rate rises down to 3.9%.

City of Greater Geraldton Mayor, Ian Carpenter, said it was a priority of Council to keep rates rises at a minimum whilst stimulating the local economy.

“The State government is increasing the supply of water and power by 4.5%, street lighting is going up by 7.6% and the longer term costs of government borrowing is going up by $950,000,” he said.

The Emergency Services Levy which the City collects on behalf of the State Government is also increasing by 10.6%.

“Although the Emergency Services Levy is a State Government charge on property owners, which is collected via Council rates, some people think the ESL is a local government charge but it isn’t. Once collected, the City forwards the money to the State Government,” Mayor Carpenter said.

Council has also been subjected to a $3.7 million reduction in Federal and State Government grants which has impacted on the City’s ability to keep rates down whilst still being able to provide the range and level of services the community wants and needs.

“It’s been a tough year and a lot of tough decisions needed to be made regarding the services the City will continue to provide with a greatly reduced budget,” Mayor Carpenter said.

“Community members spent almost 6500 hours during two Community Panels and the Community Summit helping prioritise the range and level of services the City provides.

“Having a clear understanding what the community values most has been critical to setting priorities and adopting a budget that meets the need to keep rate rises down whilst still providing services the community wants and needs.”