Property owners in the Shire of Manjimup are set to be hit with a 3.41 per cent rate increase this financial year. Councillors last week unanimously endorsed the 2021-22 budget, detailing the organisation’s planned spending over the next 12 months. The document included a rate rise of 3.41 per cent, which would mean an increase of about $56 for a residential property owner with a standard home in Manjimup. The hike would range to about a $37 rate increase for a Pemberton homeowner. It comes after the Shire joined every other local government in the State and completely froze rates, fees and charges last financial year during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Shire president Paul Omodei said the rate rise was necessary to complete some of the highly requested upgrades throughout the region. “It has been a difficult budget, in difficult circumstances, it includes a significant Shire-wide road program in excess of $7 million being a considerable investment in infrastructure across all towns,” he said. “The budget is the instrument by which the Strategic Community Plan 2021-2031 and council’s Corporate Business Plan 2021-2025 are financed and put into action. The rate rise of 3.41 per cent will go some way to return much-needed funding for infrastructure renewal works as well as providing the level of service indicated by ratepayers ... in the recent community survey.” The rise will recoup an estimated $10 million from ratepayers, with major projects in the budget including roadworks, sporting precinct developments and town revitalisation projects. Money has been allocated for Graphite Road ($450,000), North Walpole Road ($450,000), Windy Harbour Road ($525,000) and $3.38 million for Mordalup Road bridge. The building and infrastructure goals have been allocated $3.4 million, with some of the money going towards the $2.18 million Pemberton co-location building. Another sum of money will be invested in the $447,000 needed for various toilet facilities throughout the Shire. Parks and recreation funding will include a $924,200 investment from the Shire. Rates will make up 21 per cent of the Manjimup Shire’s total budget, with the remainder from grants (34 per cent), previous year surplus (21 per cent), reserves (8 per cent) and other fees and charges (16 per cent). The Budget was carried unanimously 10 to zero.