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President explains his charity ‘no’

Kellie BalaamNarrogin Observer
Cr Ballard said other ratepayers should not be subsidising the tenants in the charity housing.
Camera IconCr Ballard said other ratepayers should not be subsidising the tenants in the charity housing. Credit: Daryna Zadvirna

Shire of Narrogin president Leigh Ballard has explained why he cast a lone vote against granting Foundation Housing a full rates exemption at last month’s council meeting.

Ten units on Lock Street are owned by Foundation Housing, which submitted a request to the council to have its rates exempted because it is a not-for-profit providing low-cost social housing.

At the council meeting on November 27, the request was carried seven to one, with Cr Ballard opposing the recommendation.

“In my perspective, I don’t believe they should be getting a full rate reduction. With a 100 per cent rate reduction, every other ratepayer will now be covering that cost,” Cr Ballard said.

“The council resolution was passed, so there’s nothing I can do.”

Cr Ballard said other ratepayers should not be subsidising the tenants in the charity housing.

“I don’t mind it being a reduced rate but the 100 per cent reduction is the issue I have with it,” he said.

According to the president, the Shire will lose more than $16, 000 in rates.

“Basically, that money won’t come in so we will have to adjust our spending,” he said.

Foundation Housing aims to relieve housing-related poverty and provides secure and affordable housing for people with low incomes.

In addition, two of its units are designed to accommodate tenants with disabilities.

Cr Ballard said he respected what Foundation Housing were doing.

“I applaud Foundation Housing for what they’re doing but as a Shire president, I struggle with the fact they’re still receiving 75 per cent of rental value but are paying no rates,” he said.

Based on an assessment by Shire administration, it was found the charity met all criteria under the Local Government Act 1995 that defines non-rateable land as “land used exclusively for charitable purposes”.

“The council resolution was passed and that’s what I’ll stick with,” Cr Ballard said.

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