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Shire of Harvey adopts $122.7m budget for 2023-24 with nearly $70m to be spent on building works

Headshot of Sean Van Der Wielen
Sean Van Der WielenHarvey-Waroona Reporter
The Shire of Harvey council chambers in Harvey.
Camera IconThe Shire of Harvey council chambers in Harvey. Credit: Sean Van Der Wielen/Harvey-Waroona Reporter

Expenditure by the Shire of Harvey will jump a massive 34 per cent over the next year, funded in part by an increase in rates income of nine per cent.

Adopted by the council on Tuesday, the 2023-24 balanced budget increases from $91.7 million in 2022-23 to $122.7m for the next financial year.

The Shire has attributed the staggering $31m in additional expenditure to extensive capital works and an increasing population.

The budget is headlined by $81.9m in capital works, including $31.5m to be spent on the expended upgrades to the Leschenault Leisure Centre and $4.5m on the Yarloop Workshops and Men’s Shed project.

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Harvey Shire president Paul Gillett the council had a number of projects it would be working on over the next year.

“I think there comes a time in any Shire that’s transitioning out of a country Shire where there is a lot of growing pressures and in essence, we’re probably playing catch up,” he said.

Cr Gillett admitted the council’s expansion of services did “come at a cost”.

“But I think if everyone sits back in a few years and has a look, I think they’ll be pretty happy with it,” he said.

“You’ve got to make some hard decisions along the way to move forward.”

Total rates revenue will increase by more than 9 per cent to $27.4m this financial year, led by a 6 per cent rate rise for residential and rural landowners, a 10 per cent rise in industrial and commercial rates and the axing of the three per cent early payment discount.

Although they did not vote against the rates adoption, Cr Paul Beech and Cr Joe Capogreco both spoke against the differential rates for businesses, with Cr Beech describing it as “not in the spirit of the community”.

“A bookkeeper working from a shopfront property in the main street of Harvey will get hit with a 4 per cent tax, but if you work from home in the same job, it is nil,” he said.

“As a community I think we all should be sharing the load.”

The rates finalisation was passed 9-1, with Cr Robyn Coleman voting against.

Cr Gillett said the final decision on differential rates was a compromise, but noted the benefits to businesses of more promotion and events in the area.

“It is hard putting up rates,” he said.

“We’re all ratepayers and others do run a business, but if you bring an extra 100,000 visitors into the area that spend $50 or $100, they always say a dollar from the outside is probably worth two or three local dollars.”

Residential landowners will pay 9.2437 cents per rateable dollar, while rural landowners will pay 0.5045 cents.

GRV-rated industrial and commercial properties will pay 9.5930 cents per rateable dollar.

The minimum payment for residential and rural landowners will be $1295, with commercial and industrial landholders’ minimum set at $1342.

A new $50 waste facilities maintenance rate will also be charged on every property, in part to help pay for the council’s costs in rehabilitating landfill sites.

Rate payments will be due on September 29.

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