Projects, upgrades your rates will help fund in 2019-20
GLADSTONE region ratepayers will be hit with general rate increase of almost 2per cent in the 2019/20 financial year.
Gladstone Regional Council said the rate increase has been introduced to service major capital works projects, allow council to continue to reduce debt to a total of $50.3million over four years and operate with a $1.8 million surplus this year..
The increases were revealed today when the council adopted its 2019/20 Budget and Operational Plan.
The general rate will rise by 1.94per cent while water access charges will rise by 2.08per cent, sewerage by 2.04per cent and waste by 5.82per cent, resulting in a total average rate rise of 2.39per cent for domestic households.
The increases mean the net rate paid by the average residential ratepayer in 2019/20 will be $2855.89, up from $2789.11 last year - an increase of $66.78.
Water and sewerage charges differ across Boyne Island/Tannum Sands, Calliope, Agnes Water/Seventeen Seventy and Miriam Vale/Bororen.
Mayor Matt Burnett said the rate increase was necessary to continue to deliver services in their $257.54m budget.
"No one ever wants to see a rate increase but it's 1.94per cent, that's for the average general rate," Cr Burnett said.
"That's so we can keep up to date and deliver the services the community expect from us.
"This enables us to operate and deliver the services, the libraries, the galleries, the entertainment centres, the sporting fields and the sewerage networks and all the rest of it.
"Council has to have a decent operating budget and that operating budget has to increase with things like electricity increases, wage increases, all the things that increase."
The increases come after the council budget revealed the associated costs of waste disposal and recycling had increased significantly in the past financial year, up by $600,000.
The budget will include a capital expenditure of $74.89 million.
The key projects included are $20.4million on upgrades to waste water sewerage infrastructure, $14.982million on capital roads projects - with $2.9million funded by state and federal grants and subsidies, $8.26million on upgrades to water supply infrastructure, $1.897million on footpath and cycle upgrades, $1.574million on bridge upgrades, renewals and placements, $732,000 on parks projects and $685,000 on cemetery expansions and upgrades.
"I'm not going to call it the 'back to basics budget' but we are focussing on those sorts of things," Cr Burnett said.
Cr Burnett said the council had put in a lot of effort to ensure the rate rise remained at a minimum.
"It hasn't just happened in the last 12 months, I'd like to thank my deputy mayor and my council team," he said.
"We've had a consolidated effort in the last four years in decreasing debt while at the same time no new borrowings and delivering a surplus this year and again next year."
"We understand our community is hurting right now and probably have been or the past six plus years we've been trying to invest in job opportunities, we've been hunting the industrial development, our biofuels industry, making sure our industry is supported."
Council will spend $18.1million on community development and arts and culture spaces and a further $14.7million on parks and the environment.
State and federal government investment of $6.9million will go towards sealing unsealed roads, bridge replacements in the southern part of the region, footpath improvements and funding towards replacing SES vehicles.
The council will also spend $61.7million on the region's roads and drainage networks.
Cr Burnett said the council was also looking to explore sites and develop a master plan for an aquatic facility at Boyne Tannum, would continue the development of Marley Brown Oval and the upgrade of the Gladstone City Plaza Forecourt at 100 Goondoon st.
"We have had the National Rugby League play in Gladstone, we've got the Roar playing in Gladstone, we've got the national rugby union playing later in the year," Cr Burnett said.
"We have had massive boosts to the Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race.
"We're investing in the events and activities this community expects from the council and at the same time we're delivering the services every other council delivers."
The council estimates the gross value of rates and charges proposed to be levied in 2019/20 is $151.89million, compared to $146.85million last year, up 3.44per cent.
General rates increase: 2.39%
Capital expenditure: $74.89m
Operating surplus: $1.8m
Debt reduction (over four years): $50.3m
Capital roads projects: $15m
Sewerage infrastructure: $20.4m
Water supply infrastructure upgrades: $8.3m
Footpath, cycle upgrades: $1.9m
Goondoon St footpath replacement $1m
Boyne/Tannum Community Centre: $1m
Calliope Cemetery expansion: $550k
1770 foreshore erosion control: $350k
Miriam Vale SES building: $320k
Mount Larcom walking trail upgrade: $56k
Bridge upgrades, renewals and replacements: $1.6m
Lake Awoonga water meter replacements: $1.5m
Parks upgrades and projects: $732k