Council knocks back rates waiver motion

82203_02 Intaj Khan.

By Alesha Capone

Wyndham Cr Intaj Khan says he has feels “gobsmacked” after his suggestion to introduce a $100 waiver on upcoming council rates was not supported by several of his fellow councillors.

Cr Khan moved a motion at last week’s council meeting, which said the council should provide a $100 fee waiver on 2020-21 council rates, for each property located in the municipality.

The motion, printed in the meeting agenda, said the fee waiver was needed because many residents have had their employment affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking at the council meeting, Cr Khan said the council’s proposed budget for 2020-21 included a $157.3 million surplus.

He said that providing each household with $100 off their rates would take around $10 million off the surplus.

Cr Heather Marcus said she would support the motion, because of the hardship that the pandemic has caused in Wyndham.

However, Cr Peter Maynard said that back in April, Cr Khan had suggested a similar motion, which would have cut around $21 from council’s annual rates revenue. That particular motion failed to pass council.

Cr Maynard described Cr Khan’s latest motion as “absolutely ridiculous”.

Cr Henry Barlow said that although the council’s proposed budget did have a $157.3 million surplus, the document stated – that once depreciation was taken into account – the budget actually had a deficit of $50.3 million.

Cr Barlow said that in his view, Cr Khan’s motion was not in the best interests of the whole municipality.

Cr Barlow said that the council has already established a $5 million WYNLocal Economic Support Package, including a hardship policy for residents, due to the pandemic.

All but three councillors – Cr Khan, Cr Marcus and Cr Walter Villagonzalo – voted against the motion.

Afterwards, Cr Khan told Star Weekly: “I have been left gobsmacked with seven out of ten of my fellow Councillors, who have blocked the resolution which could have saved struggling Wyndham ratepayers, due to the current Covid-19 pandemic situation.

“In my personal view those councillors that have voted against the resolution for the $100 rate cut has lost the opportunity to support the ratepayers of Wyndham City Council.

“The ratepayer mums and dads of Wyndham City Council will remember them when they are paying the council rates”.