It is not the right economic climate to be increasing rates with many people doing it tough, was the message former mayor Ian Stubbs echoed at the City of Busselton's annual general meeting on Monday.
Mr Stubbs said many people in the community were experiencing financial hardship and rather than further burdening people, the city should have pulled back its projects for the coming year.
He believed the increase for ratepayers was substantial while it would only generate a small amount of revenue for the city.
"It is $1.9 million for the city in a $140 million budget," he said.
"The Shire of Capel changed their rates to 0 per cent, and many other councils went down to a 1 per cent increase," he said.
During this year's budget meeting, the City of Busselton council agreed to a 3.95 per cent rate increase, which allocated 0.5 per cent to increase footpath and cycleway funding and another 0.5 per cent to increase road upgrade funding.
Mr Stubbs said money to fund projects should have been taken out of existing reserve funds rather than increasing rates.
He said at the end of last financial year there were 69 projects which had been funded and not carried out, all but 15 were with Engineering and Works Department.
"Why accelerate programs when it is clear they cannot complete them?" he said.
"Keep it at a level to remove the burden on ratepayers and provide relief to Engineering and Works staff.
"It is time council reviewed cost and took off fat, by reducing Engineering and Works project to a manageable level, you could have saved 2.5 per cent."
City of Busselton mayor Grant Henley said they had received funding from the Federal Government for road upgrades which they needed to match.
Mr Henley said they also needed to widen footpaths after changes were made to the Road Traffic Act which allows cyclists to ride on footpaths.
He said it was always a consideration to carry over different programs and they made sure extra work was not added.