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Council

Mayor’s 2019-2020 Annual Budget delivers lowest general rate rise in more than a decade

3 June 2019

Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie today delivered Council’s Annual Budget with the lowest rate increase for the region in more than 10 years.

The Budget delivers the lowest general rate increase since Southern Downs Regional Council was amalgamated in 2008.

The Mayor said the Budget reflects significant development across many sectors in the region and promotes future growth and sustainability.

“Our goal is to ensure we are providing quality services and replacing and upgrading infrastructure in the region without burdening our ratepayers. This Budget strikes a very good balance,” Cr Dobie said.

“The Southern Downs has been severely affected by drought over the last two years and this is having an impact on the whole region, but significant development is continuing in the areas of renewable energy, aged care, transport and the food processing sector. 

“Activities such as these support future growth of our region and provide employment opportunities for our residents.  The Southern Downs is a great place to live, work and play even when we are in drought.

 “With the lowest General Rate rise in more than 10 years, Council will need to carefully manage finances, but a solid financial foundation means we can still invest money into infrastructure reserves while decreasing our debt even further.”

General rates will rise by just 2 per cent and Council will also extend the early payment discount period from 30 to 60 days to assist residents financially impacted by ongoing drought conditions.

Utility charges for water, sewer and waste will increase by only 2.75 per cent, the same amount as the 2018-2019 Financial Year, and will go towards maintaining and upgrading key infrastructure.

Projected rates increases in the Long Term Financial Forecast remain at 3 per cent, indicating Council’s intention to continue to restrict expenditure.

$12.59 million will be spent on roads, bridges, drainage and footpaths across the entire region, while major projects include the $2.2 million replacement of Palmer Bridge at Freestone, sealing works at Connolly Dam for $950,000, as well as gravel resheeting of Goldfields and Pikedale Roads for almost $1.2 million.

Council’s financial sustainability has also been supported by the enormous success Council has had in securing government funding.

 

“This Council has been extremely successful in securing grant funding to financially assist the delivery of significant projects for the region,” Cr Dobie aid.

 

SDRC will dedicate $35.58 million to capital works projects in the region to ensure that Council continues to provide essential services for residents.

“The 2019-20 Annual Budget sees the largest capital works program for many years. With aging infrastructure across the region it is critical that adequate funds are spent on renewing, upgrading and maintaining these assets,” Cr Dobie said.  

SDRC’s 2029-2020 Annual Budget was adopted at a Council Special Meeting today.

For more information on Southern Downs Regional Council’s 2019-20 Budget visit sdrc.qld.gov.au or contact SDRC on 1300 697 372.

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