The Latest Rates Scandals

State Treasurer Agrees with Fremantle Society

The Fremantle Society campaigned for a REDUCTION in rates due to the LOWERING of the GRV (Gross rental Value) of properties.

Because GRV values were going to reduce for the first time in decades, by 10% we were told, the Fremantle Society argued that rates should be reduced by the same amount, and if not, that represented a rate increase of 11% (the Herald, whose maths is not as good as ours, stated it would be a 10% rise).

But councillors online, especially Cr Sullivan, argued that in fact there would be NO increase.

The Fremantle Society's submission, along with all others, has been ignored in the budget papers going to council this Wednesday at 6pm.

Note: Council's own budget document states that: "A zero percentage rate increase for residents is unlikely."

Now the State Treasurer has come out in agreement with the Fremantle Society position. Treasurer Ben Wyatt said (ABC News 4 July) councils had resisted the reduction in GRV and that councils "had willingly passed on the increases in previous years - so they should be passing on the decrease as property values fall."

The scandalous situation is made worse:

a) because council refuses to reduce the 2% rate increase for the third plastic bin which the mayor said was a "one off cost" meaning you are paying that 2% EVERY YEAR.

b) when Mayor Pettitt took office, he benefitted from the extra money generated from a massive 10.4% rate increase in 2009, intended as a one off increase. But, the rates were never reduced in subsequent years and ratepayers have paid that 10.4% EVERY SINGLE YEAR SINCE Dr Pettitt became mayor.

c) none of the heritage essentials for a heritage city like Fremantle have been reinstated in the budget.

ie Heritage Awards GONE, Local History Awards GONE, Heritage Grants Scheme GONE, Heritage Reserve Fund of 1.25% of rates GONE, and heritage committee GONE. ADDED to that, this year's budget has put aside the minuscule budget for $20,000 for the Heritage Festival!

Meanwhile, council's mates, the developers Sirona , in a confidential deal, have been offered $400,000 a year to run the Fremantle Tourist Bureau, and it will probably go into their new building in King's Square to prop that up.

To begin fixing up the multi million dollar mess at Arthur Head and the Round House caused by council inaction, council has proudly announced the budget includes $500,000 to start fixing it up. But that is money borrowed from the State Government, and council already spends over $3 million a year servicing debts.

How many scandals does the Fremantle Society have to expose before members get out in the street and bay at the moon? Or, do something?

John Dowson
The Fremantle Society


photo: ABC


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