Former mayor takes swipe at council’s rate relief

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
Former City of Busselton mayor Ian Stubbs has returned from walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain.
Camera IconFormer City of Busselton mayor Ian Stubbs has returned from walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Credit: Busselton Dunsborough Times, Pierra Willix Busselton Dunsborough Times

Busselton City Council voted to implement a range of economic measures in response to the COVID-19 crisis at an emergency council meeting on Wednesday.

The measures cover rates, commercial leases, procurement, planning applications and economic development initiatives.

The City will not increase rates for the 2020/2021 financial year and introduce weekly, fortnightly and monthly payment options.

Any debt recovery action on outstanding rates will be halted on a case-by-case basis.

The City will consider rate relief for small businesses affected by the pandemic and will freeze interest or fees and charges associated with outstanding rates from April-June in accordance with the newly-adopted Financial Hardship Policy.

Commercial lease fees on City-owned premises will be waived until June 30 for businesses severely affected by COVID-19.

The City will also speed-up building and planning approval processes by relaxing requirements to submit supporting information where difficult.

The Community Bid Program will be refocused to recovery initiatives and small grants programs, as well as events and regional marketing.

Mayor Grant Henley said the City’s package would ensure municipal support and resources were effectively allocated to local response and recovery efforts.

However, former mayor Ian Stubbs said councillors’ “soft approach” would cost them during an election.

“They should not have raised rates last financial year and if they didn’t freeze them this year I think it would be a very big disappointment to all ratepayers.

“We have had enough of the way the city is managing their finances.

“Ratepayers across the board are struggling, pensioners are struggling, and the council are going out spending $10 million on an arts building.

“They have got to get their priorities right.”

The full report is available on the city's website busselton.wa.gov.au

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