Expect a rates rise of 3.5 per cent

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Geoff VivianMidwest Times
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Property owners in Irwin Shire can expect an average 3.5 per cent increase in their rates this year.

This is considerably less than the 5.7 per cent increase the council had previously adopted in its Long Term Financial Plan.

Shire president Mike Smith said they would have a “serious look” to identify savings.

“We will consider trimming any areas that we can and focus on our core business and delivering our services,” he said.

No decision had been made about where expenditure might be cut but acting chief executive Shane Ivers had been asked to review all staff functions and services, Cr Smith said.

“There has been community concern for some time that our organisation is top heavy, so we have been looking at how we can get the people on the ground delivering the services.”

Cr Smith said the Shire had to be careful not to prune management functions back too severely.

“Local government has strong demands for reporting and recording and we have still got strong auditing commitments and responsibilities,” he said.

“But when you are not delivering services and yet there is a structure in place that’s consuming a lot of our budget income, you have to get that fine balance.

“I think we are getting some reasonably good community support at the moment for our actions and I hope this continues.”

At last week’s meeting councillors adopted rates of 10.3473 cents in the dollar for residential and commercial properties calculated on gross rental value.

Rates in the dollar levied on properties’ unimproved value will be 1.3135 cents for rural properties and 17.5726 cents for mining properties.

There will be a minimum rates levy of $999 for all property classes.

Councillors adopted the budget unanimously on a motion proposed by Cr Barry Wyse and seconded by Cr Kellie Wilson.

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