Strong budget to boost confidence and community pride
A strong budget centred on the fundamentals of boosting confidence and pride in our region is how Mayor Greg Williamson describes the $323 million Mackay Regional Council Budget, adopted today.
Cr Williamson said the 2018-19 budget demonstrated a commitment to delivering vital community infrastructure and securing strong economic growth.
“We have taken a disciplined approach to operational costs while continuing our vision of developing and revitalising critical lifestyle projects in the region,” he said.
Council will reduce its debt by a further $13 million, coupled with a rate rise below CPI.
The average residential ratepayer faces a 1.6 per cent increase in the general rate, with other fees and charges increasing by a modest two per cent.
This will result in an overall increase of 1.8 per cent on the total rates bill, excluding water consumption for the average ratepayer, which is equivalent to about $1 per week.
Council had considered introducing a differential banding system for canefarmers and other agricultural producers, which would have lowered the rate charged on some properties.
But that has now been removed, with council deciding any such change should not be done in isolation without reviewing other rating categories, such as commercial and industrial, as well as the current residential bands.
Cr Williamson said the $400,000 reduction in revenue, which had been attributed to the rural banding proposal, had now been distributed across all categories in the general rate base.
“This budget delivers a more equitable outcome across the whole residential base, with the effect of limiting the rise in the general rate to 1.6 per cent, which is below inflation,’’ Cr Williamson said.
“I have also asked the CEO to bring before council no later than November this year a process by which council can consider the fair and equitable allocation of the general rate across all categories,’’ he said.
“That should give council ample time to inform the budget process for 2019-20.”
Cr Williamson said liveability and community pride were an intrinsic part of planning this budget.
“The results of our community survey clearly showed the importance our residents placed on maintaining our roads, stimulating the economy and supporting local business,” he said.
About $450 of every rates notice goes directly to areas that create a liveable community, such as aquatic facilities, parks, playgrounds, libraries, events, festivals and boat ramps.
“We are investing $7.7 million on rural roads and over half the $129 million capital works program centres on essential infrastructure to cater for growth,” Cr Williamson said.
Average residential rates (excluding water consumption) - after discount
Water access charge
Rubbish & Recycling charge
Natural Environment charge
Roads improvement charge
Disaster response charge
Water facilities operations charge