Council 3pc rate rise on the cards

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
Bunbury’s 2019-20 Budget to be prepared based on a property rate hike of 3 per cent.
Camera IconBunbury’s 2019-20 Budget to be prepared based on a property rate hike of 3 per cent. Credit: Kate Fielding / South Western Times

Bunbury City Council is considering a 3 per cent rate hike on residents as city staff put the final touches on its 2019-20 financials.

The council last week endorsed its 15-Year Integrated Financial Plan, which sets out major projects and asset renewal for the city.

The 2019-20 Budget will now be prepared based on a property rate hike of 3 per cent, but Mayor Gary Brennan said any increase still had to get the final tick of approval by the council.

“The IFP was unanimously endorsed ... so very pleased with that outcome of course, as several hundred hours of work goes into preparing the IFP by our officers,” Mr Brennan said.

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“We’ve had a number of workshops so the elected members are very familiar with the IFP and also predicting what the rate increase may be for the next 12 months, which we’ve said is factored in around 3 per cent.

“However, that final decision won’t be made until the budget meeting in June.”

He said the long-term plan would allow for the growth of Bunbury with dedicated projects included in the 15-year timeframe.

“The city has identified productivity savings which contribute to $37.8 million over the 15 years to go towards future major city projects,” he said.

“These projects will undergo a rigorous process with the development of business cases to prove the viability of projects prior to being included in the IFP as it is annually updated.”

The plan includes a new reserve for “City Growth and Major Development” for new projects and will be initially used to fund the design and part construction of the long-awaited Youth Precinct.

The council estimates the reserve to have a balance of $1.2 million by the end of 2022-23.

Mr Brennan said the reserve was associated with the “continued attention” of the city centre.

Included in the long-term plan for the renewal of ageing assets is $5.9 million for playgrounds, $4.8 million for Hay Park sporting infrastructure and $7.6 million for footpaths.

The council will adopt its annual budget later this month.

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