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Council expected to keep rate increases low

25 June 2018

Balonne Shire Council is expected to approve a 3% increase across all rates and charges and a 1% increase to the minimum general rate at this week’s Council Budget meeting.

Mayor Richard Marsh said he was pleased Council was able to keep the increases low and still cover community services.

“For the past five years the Balonne Shire has been running at a deficit and we were recently mentioned by Queensland’s Auditor-General in his report to Parliament,” he said.

“To remain financially sustainable Council must ensure its revenue - grant money, rates, fees and charges - covers its expenditure on services expected by the community, such as roads, waste collection, water and waste water, parks and gardens, recreational facilities etc.

“Council and the executive team are committed to turning this around, but it’s a long road ahead.

“I can assure ratepayers we have not been splashing their cash on anything extravagant – just basic services such as roads, community support, recreational facilities, water infrastructure and waste water infrastructure.

“Where possible we are spending grant money on projects such as the recent upgrades to our community halls thanks to the Works for Queensland funding from the Queensland State Government.

“We have budgeted $3.59 million for upgrading roads and streets and $2.735 million for new seals on roads and re-sheeting gravel roads. Our team is working hard to ensure there is enough in our coffers to cover those costs.

“This expenditure alone equates to 89% of the general rate - thankfully Council receives grants and funding to assist financing this area of Council’s responsibility.”

Cr Marsh said Council executive officers had reviewed, and would continue to review, all methods of expenditure to find savings through efficiency gains.

“It’s a fine balance between keeping the level of service we currently provide to the community and meeting the increasing community expectations of services desired with the amount of income we have,” he said.

“We’ve worked hard on this budget and are very pleased that we are able to keep the increases low, but still fund services and maintain infrastructure.”