City of Victoria Park administrative staff are to go back to the drawing board after they made an accounting error when calculating this year’s rate hike.
The city recently held a public consultation on a proposed 4.6% rate increase for owners of residential, non-residential and vacant land.
That’s a big jump from the city’s 2021-22 fiscal year, when a 0.88% rate increase was approved.
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Councilors were scheduled to vote on the city’s 2022-23 draft budget last Tuesday, which included the proposed rate increase, but it was withdrawn before the meeting when an accounting error was discovered.
“The recommended average percentage increase in rates for 2022-23 was erroneously calculated using the figures for recommended rather than approved rates from the previous year,” Chief Executive Anthony Vuleta said.
Mr. Vuleta said that despite the error, the recommended average rate increase of 4.6% across the three rating categories remained the same.
“(The budget) was removed from the agenda due to an identified error in the budget where the report detailed a recommended average rate increase of 4.6%,” a report read.
“The budget figures reflect an average increase of 5.7% across all rating categories and 5.8% for those paying minimum rates.”
The city’s annual budget will be submitted to councilors for approval at a special council meeting on July 12.
Belmont town councilors agreed at a meeting on Tuesday to a 3.5% rate increase for owners of residential, commercial and industrial properties.
The increase is a substantial increase from its 2021-22 fiscal year, when the board committed to a 1.75% increase.
“The proposed 3.5% increase is still a comparatively smaller increase and drives down the dollar rate and the minimum rates collected by most other local governments,” a city report said.
“The modest increase allows the city to continue to provide a high level of service that is appreciated by our community.
The report says preparing the 2022-2023 budget showed the city how difficult it is to meet community expectations, contain costs in a volatile domestic and international market, and keep fare increases at a steady pace. moderate level.
“Budget 2022-23 achieved all of these factors through responsible and prudent budgeting,” he said.
He said the 2022-23 budget reflected most operations returning to normal after COVID-19 disruptions over the past two years.
“Major community events are expected to resume,” he said.
“During this budget cycle, the focus will be more on asset management planning and the design phase of projects instead of embarking on new projects.”
South Perth City Council went against an officer’s recommendation on Tuesday for a 4.9% rate increase and instead approved a 4.5% rate increase. Councilors approved the increase as part of its proposed 2022-23 budget.
However, the draft budget was not released for public comment, which is normal protocol for the city.
“Given the complexity of this year’s budget, the City held five workshops with elected officials to fully explain the City’s long-term financial situation and explain the importance of implementing measures in this budget to help restore the city’s financial situation in the longer term. “, says the report.
“These workshops were also attended by an independent financial analyst with significant experience in local government finance who presented an analysis of the city’s current financial situation as well as financial modeling over the next 10 years.”
Ratepayers in South Perth have faced a modest 1% rate increase over the past three years.
But according to a city report, the COVID-19 pandemic and war in Ukraine have created “significant economic uncertainty” as the city continues to manage its finances carefully during this difficult time.
“This has seen the development of some identified principles that will see the city return to a surplus position over the next three years,” he said.
The report says returning to a net operating surplus is “essential for the city’s long-term financial viability.”
“…it (net operating surplus) allows funds to be allocated for the replacement of drainage, roads, playgrounds, other infrastructure and facilities that provide services and amenities to residents”, did he declare.
“A continued period of operating deficits would likely prevent the city from undertaking asset upgrades.”