ROCKINGHAM councillor Richard Smith says he will stand by his push to increase rates by 15 per cent, despite confirmation that the City will not lose $1.9 million in revenue from the Southern Metropolitan Regional Council (SMRC).
The City’s income from waste revenue was in freefall after it was announced two months ago that the SMRC’s Canning Vale Regional Resource Recovery Centre (RRRC) would be shut down by the Department of Environment and Conservation due to residents’ complaints about odour around the facility.
The City earns close to $2 million annually from an arrangement with the SMRC to process the waste the RRRC could not recycle at Rockingham’s Millar Road landfill.
During last month’s ordinary meeting of council, several councillors cited the loss of income as a contributing factor to the need for a significant rates increase.
Councillors voted 5 to 3 in favour of increasing next year’s proposed rate hike from the 9.9 per cent touted in the City’s business plan to 15 per cent each year for two years.
On Monday, the Department of Environment and Conservation announced it would allow the RRRC to remain in operation for two years, under stringent conditions that included upgrades to equipment to improve odour management.
The RRRC will also only be able to process 65 per cent of its plant’s waste capacity, which may impact on the City of Rockingham’s coffers.
Cr Smith, who tabled the alternative motion to increase the rate rise, said that despite the good news, he thought the 15 per cent should stand.
Cr Smith, who is also the City’s representative on the SMRC, previously said the 15 per cent hike was vital to “fix the substantial backlog of asset management issues and ensure the City’s dependence on landfill is reduced”.
“I’m really happy they’ve got another chance but it’s going to be a very expensive and iffy chance,” he said.
“At this stage though I’m going to hold true. I wanted 15 per cent with or without the waste coming in.”