We bust the myths about council debt

DEBT has been one of the main topics around this election, but are you judging the council on misinformation?

The council's debt is sitting at just over $160 million and by June 30 that will have dropped to $158 million.

We've put together a list of 'myths' surrounding Gladstone Regional Council's debt level.

>>Council debt a non-issue: expert

1. This council's debt is out of control.

The council's asset base is about $2.3 billion therefore its debt of $158 million is equivalent to 6.87% of that asset base. Compared to a household mortgage, it would be the equivalent of a $6870 debt on an asset worth $100,000.

>> YOUR GUIDE: To councillor, mayor candidates for 2016 election

2. At amalgamation, Calliope Shire Council had more than $100 million in the bank.

False. At amalgamation on 15 March 2008, Calliope Shire Council held Cash equivalents of $12.4 million and had debt of $9.7m

This was similar to the Calliope Shire Council's previous financial year when it held cash equivalents of $15 million and had a debt of $10 million.

3. The council is in debt because of the airport.

The airport debt equates to $57 million or 36% of the balance of the council's borrowings.

Debt breakdown

  • Water infrastructure; $17.6 million or 12% 
  • Residential sewerage infrastructure; $17.5 million or 11% 
  • Industrial sewerage infrastructure; $36.3 million or 23% 
  • Roads and general debt; $17.4 million or 11%
  • Airport; $57 million or 36%

Revenue breakdown

Operating budget $171.8 million 2015-2016

Revenue derived from; 

  • Rates; 79% 
  • Fees and charges; 11% 
  • Interest; 3% 
  • Operating grants and contributions; 6%
  • Recoverable works; 1%

>> Got a question you want answered ahead of March 19? Contact us here



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