The City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder last night made the decision to limit the total amount raised in general rates this year to an increase of just 1.5% - the current level of inflation, and to limit movements in individual rating groups caused by a City wide revaluation by switching to a system of differential rates in the dollar.
Mayor John Bowler said the City wanted to make sure that the rates levied are fair and equitable.
“Following the revaluation of all properties by the Valuer General and Landgate this year, if we did not move to a differential rates system, residents and home owners would have been the hardest hit, even with the Council capping the rates increase,” he said.
“The introduction of Differential Rating allowed Council flexibility in determining the level of rates being raised from specifically identified categories, such as residential, commercial, industrial or mining.
“All properties have been revalued, so all properties will be different. Some people will be paying more than last year, others will be paying the same, and others will be paying less but overall the City will only collect 1.5% more.
“The total increase in rates revenue for the commercial, mining and industrial categories will also be capped at 1.5%, but because of the drop in values for these categories, individual rates may be higher. We have made the decision to structure the differential rates so that our residential ratepayers will be least impacted.
“The Council promised austerity in the budget for this year, and moving forward we will be adopting a fiscally responsible budget next month. To improve our financial position, the City needs to either cut costs or increase rates. We have chosen to cut costs, and so far have reduced the draft budget by $4million from the 2015/16 operational budget. No increases will be provided for in any area, including employment costs.
“We will also build an ongoing surplus into the budgets, so that in the future we will have the capacity to self-fund major projects, rather than increase our borrowing. We are all aware of what the City’s current financial position is, and it is our priority to greatly improve it.”