Council denies favourites claim
By REN LANZONnewsroom@gladstoneobserver.com.au
CALLIOPE Shire Council has hit back at claims it was playing favourites by spending rural rates on urban centres.
Calliope Shire mayor George Creed was replying to Chamberlain Road residents who said the council should direct some funding away from the Boyne Tannum area and toward rural services.
Resident Warren van Dalen said the council should upgrade its services in rural areas, particularly the matter of roads. "Though we all pay rates, we don't have some of the services here that urban areas have,'' he said.
Another resident, Ray Lewis, said he often had to take out his tractor to fill holes and gullies on or near the road. But Cr Creed said the council did its best to represent all ratepayers equally.
"The issue of equity for all ratepayers is always at the forefront of the minds of all councillors at budget time,'' he said.
"But there is never enough money to go around and therefore priorities must be set.''
He said rural roads were a major issue for the council. He said the council had allocated $3.3 million for rural rural road maintenance and improvement and noxious weed control in the 2004/2005 budget, but the revenue from properties zoned rural was only $2.76 million.
"This does not, however, suggest that urban ratepayers are subsidising the rural ratepayer ? a significant portion of council's total revenue is also derived from other sources which are shared by all ratepayers (such as) state and federal grants.