Tonight we had our monthly Council meeting and here are a few of the items that may be of more interest to you (to see the full 186 page agenda head to http://rockingham.wa.gov.au/getmedia/1567e7f7-0513-4f14-bc07-9490ff2be371/2018-06-(June)-Agenda-Council.pdf.aspx
1. The council unanimously agreed that rates were to increase by 3.6%. I spoke about the fact that in outer suburbs, such as Baldivis and Secret Harbour there was the community demand for new facilities and infrastructure that needed paying for. I also mentioned that a 1% rate increase was equal to around $800,000 in extra revenue, however council electricity costs have increased by around $800,000 with the state governments price increases, the hard working staffs well deserved EBA increase of 1.5% equates to approximately $800,000 so that is 2% of the rate increase gone already without the addition of new staff or even building anything new.
Last year I successfully argued that the proposed 5% rate increase (at the time) was too high and last year the rise was 3%, I have said since that time that this year’s rise would also need to be 3% but with the city losing a $5.5m waste contract this meant (to me) that we needed the extra 0.6% to maintain the current plans that were being worked on which is why I voted for the 3.6%. I also want to thank the 40 residents who took the time (out of 140,000) to put formal submissions in regarding the rates.
2. The City have been working on simplifying the outdoor events applications to encourage more people to run community events, as someone who runs a lot of events I am very pleased that this proposed policy will now be going out for public consultation so keep an eye on the city website
3. I thanked the Council and city staff for their support in potentially saving lives for people crossing safety bay road. In august of last year I put a notice of motion forward seeking to find ways for people to cross safety bay road (mainly students) more safely. I will do a separate post on this to explain exactly what is happening as this is a common sense outcome that will cost around $200,000. We ruled out an overpass and underground tunnel due mainly to the cost ($7m-10$).
4. The council make the decision to write off $262,000 worth of debt, please allow me to explain why. Currently what happens when a sporting or social club takes over a city building they pay a lease and outgoings. Historically though clubs were actually asked to pay a third of the total cost (to put this into context this would mean the secret harbour dockers should pay anywhere up to $5m, the secret harbour life saving to pay $3m, the Baldivis brumbies would need to pay $8m for their future facility etc if the same applied now).
These clubs could not afford their third share so the city paid their share and the clubs entered into a loan agreement to pay them off. The Naragebup environmental centre owed $103,000 and we know the great work that not for profit does, Rockingham football club (rams afl) owed $40,000 for a building going back many years, the rockingham soccer club owed $45,000 for a building that no longer exists (on Dixon road) and rockingham bowling club owed $72,000 and all these loans are from a long time ago and my understanding is that all the clubs were making payments as agreed.
The policy was changed tonight to reflect that no loans would be given out in the future. There is the belief from some that the city should never have given out loans in the first place a long time ago and this ensures this does not happen again. This also allows these clubs and not for profits, all of which are run by volunteers, can compete on the same level playing field as all other clubs in the city.
5. Cr Stewart has been a long staunch opponent of the mangles bay marina and she is trying to nudge the state government into taking conservation action at the site now that the marina is no longer going ahead. I was happy to support Cr Stewart with her motion to get the city to advocate to get action happening and the full council agreed that Council supports the lobbying of state government departments to urgently establish a transparent process to get the ball rolling on what to do with the land, this is an important first step and my reading is that the city has reversed the initial support for a marina and are now ready to focus energy on getting a great conservation outcome at the site instead.
It is important to point out that the state government owns the land but the council did previously have an advocacy position (to support a marina) and I believe that the city has an important lobbying role here.
6.Cr Jones wants to help the residents of the Vista estate in Karnup as many feel they are suffering due to the actual location name that they live in, they live in karnup and this can affect postage problems, insurance issues and a real identity problem with the new supermarket being called singelton when it is actually also in Karnup. What this means is that the city will now officially canvas the community as to what option is preferable, 1. remaining as is, 2. becoming a new suburb such as paganoni, 3, becoming a part of singleton.
I also took the opportunity to pass on to the councillors the news of the new Baldivis Community Garden launch as well as the generally very positive feedback about the new dog park.
Head to the full agenda for full details on these, and other, items and all of this is purely in my words and not on behalf of the City