Geraldton passes rates freeze as part of COVID-19 recovery budget

Geraldton Guardian
City of Greater Geraldton council office.
Camera IconCity of Greater Geraldton council office. Credit: The Geraldton Guardian

Rates and charges relief, free parking and continued spending on road, footpaths, sports and recreation facilities are key elements of the City of Greater Geraldton’s COVID-19 recovery budget passed last night.

The City spared ratepayers any increase in rates for 2020/21, adopting a rates freeze and offering a 5 per cent discount for early payment.

A number of fees and charges were also abolished, with the City to offer free car parking in the CBD and at Geraldton Airport.

The City will spend about $8 million fixing and maintaining sealed and unsealed roads, while new roundabouts will be built to improve safety at the intersections of Cathedral Avenue/Sanford Street and Durlacher Street/Maitland Street.

About 2km of new footpaths will be built in 2020/21.
Camera IconAbout 2km of new footpaths will be built in 2020/21. Credit: City of Greater Geraldton

About 2km of new footpaths will be built in Rangeway, Spalding, Wonthella, Strathalbyn and Sunset Beach, while about 1.7km of old footpaths will be repaired.

The shared pedestrian and cycle pathway on Chapman Road will be extended by about half a kilometre.

About $1.2 million will be spent on sport and recreation facilities, including:

* $430,000 for light towers at the little athletics ground.

* A skate park, scooter track and basketball half-court at GRAMS Reserve in Rangeway.

* Upgrades to Mullewa Swimming Pool, Mullewa Sportsman Club and the Mullewa Recreation Ground and Centre.

New toilet facilities will also be built at the HMAS Sydney II Memorial and Mullewa Recreation Reserve, along with a harvested stormwater irrigation system for the Eadon Clarke Sporting Complex.

Concept design of the new toilets at the HMAS Sydney II Memorial.
Camera IconConcept design of the new toilets at the HMAS Sydney II Memorial. Credit: City of Greater Geraldton

Irrigation will also be put in place at the Olive Street Reserve.

Solar panels will be installed at Geraldton Airport, bringing to seven the number of City facilities using solar power.

The trialled collection of food and organic garden waste for compost will also be extended from the current 500 households involved, with the aim of reducing the amount of waste to landfill.

Mayor Shane Van Styn said financial management had put the City in good stead to keep delivering essential services and offer financial relief in the aftermath of COVID-19.

“Not only are we focused on providing relief for our residents, but we are also committed to supporting local businesses and stimulating the local economy as we move through the recovery phase of the pandemic,” he said.

Mr Van Styn said everyone had been hit extremely hard and while the City may be experiencing significant decline in revenue streams, it was doing all it could to provide relief.

“Low rates rises have been a top priority over the past five years for Council, but now more than ever we didn’t want to put the community through high and unattainable rates rises, and that’s why there is a freeze on rates increases in the 2020/21 Budget,” he said.

“Not only is there a rates freeze, but we’re offering a discount on rates paid by the due date as well as no instalment interest and charges.”

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