Capel chooses smaller hike

Callum HunterSouth Western Times
South Western Times
Camera IconSouth Western Times

The Shire of Capel will impose a 3 per cent rates increase after the final figure was passed at a special council meeting on Friday.

Four weeks after the council rejected the initial 4 per cent recommendation, the 3 per cent motion was passed unanimously after all present councillors spoke in support of the work-shopped figure, much to the delight of shire president Murray Scott.

“You could see the passion around this table tonight to move a 3 per cent rates rise, it absolutely stood out, but it takes time,” he said.

The 4 per cent increase was first rejected at the May ordinary council meeting and then again at the subsequent special meeting on Monday last week, forcing council staff to go back and remodel the projected figures in favour of the smaller increase.

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During the May meeting, shire chief executive Ian McCabe said a 4 per cent increase was the smallest plausible amount to ensure the council met its financial targets, a notion the council rejected and decided that compromises could be made.

Cr Douglas Kitchen was the first to propose the 3 per cent increase and said he was pleased with the outcome of the four week saga.

“It’s the outcome of a long conversation with the community and councillors,” he said.

“It’s a good outcome and will make sure we will continue to deliver for the community, which is what the community is wanting and what they are expecting of their local government.”

In the lead up to the first special meeting, the council suffered at the hands of a social media onslaught, reducing some councillors to tears during the meeting’s debate.

Cr Murray Scott reiterated that there was no need or place for such comments and was joined by Cr Kitchen, who said “all councillors are happy to be contacted at any time”.

The 3 per cent means the council will have to find about $400,000 in savings, which councillors Murray Scott, Kitchen, Hearne, Bell and Schiano agreed was achievable if the council “lived within its means.”

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