North Burnett’s 2018-19 budget adopted
North Burnett Regional Council’s 2018-19 annual budget was adopted today at Council’s Special Budget Meeting in Mt Perry.
North Burnett Regional Council Mayor Rachel Chambers advised that the State Government’s requirement to set and collect rates will see North Burnett Regional Council adopt a general rate increase of 3.5%, resulting in an increase of $107.70 per year for 62% of the North Burnett region.
“There is never any doubt, no one wants rates to increase. No one around this table, no mums and dads, no pensioner, no business owner and no farmer, yet rates are a tax and must be collected,” Mayor Chambers said.
Councillors have prioritised the following key areas in the 2018-19 Budget:
- Getting the fundamentals right – Further investment in asset management planning to recognise funding gaps and future asset and infrastructure needs. This will also allow council to document rate payer expectations of service delivery and align these to acceptable service standards and future budgets.
- Improving our road networks – $21M invested in maintaining the road network (including $4.99M to improve flood resilience, $500,000 to immediately improve the B Double network and $2.24M to continue upgrades to our timber bridges).
- Improving liveability – $2.4 million redevelopment of Mingo crossing; $697,000 to improve sport and recreational facilities; $585,000 to improve accessibility with footpaths, wheelchair access and automated doors; $513,000 to improve parks and open spaces.
- Improving our decision making – Investing $225,000 in a program which will collect accurate and region wide data on the road network to ensure every road is judged with equality.
- Communicating more effectively and transparently – A dedicated budget page on the Council website will provide information on projects council is working on, who to contact for information on these projects, the budget of these projects and whether they are on time and within this budget.
“We believe it is vital to our transparency and accountability that this information is easily shared with the community we represent,” Mayor Chambers said.
Mayor Chambers advised that many areas were taken into account when planning the budget, with careful consideration given to Council’s inability to increase its own source revenue due to a low rate base and a heavy reliance on both Federal and State Government grant funding making forward planning enormously difficult. In addition, the fact that new infrastructure increases future depreciation and maintenance costs and does not assist in renewing and maintaining current assets, and the resulting loss of income from changes to how State road contracts are awarded.
In addition to adopting the 2018-19 Budget, Mayor Rachel Chambers advised that today Council has adopted a ten year financial forecast, a plan to ensure financial stability and sustainability into the future. To achieve this plan Council will increase nett revenue by 4.5% each year through levying rates, fees and charges or by reducing expenses or a combination of all three options.
“The budget process has been immensely tough once again, however I’d like to begin by saying that working with such a caring and considerate team makes the process much more manageable. Thank you for all your hard work, with a special thank you to Council’s Finance team. You are invaluable to the organisation and your skills are appreciated immensely,” Mayor Chambers said.
“With all these factors, and more, taken into consideration I am now pleased to present the 2018/19 North Burnett Regional Council Budget. As Norman Peale, the author of, the Power of Positive Thinking, said “Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that”. We may be a small community, but make no mistake, we have the strength, passion, determination and support from our community to enable this region achieve its full potential.”
“As in previous years, Council will maintain a tight fiscal position over the coming year with opportunities for review of the adopted budget quarterly. This will allow Council to review and contend with a continually changing and difficult financial environment.”
Mayor Chambers added, “This year, the community will have unprecedented insight into this budget and its outcomes and be able to check on our progress online as they wish. This is a partnership and council looks forward to sharing more and more information in the coming months”
All residents are encouraged to drop into any of Council’s Customer Service Centres to view a copy of the 2018-19 Budget or to view the document online.
View North Burnett Regional Council’s 2018-19 dedicated website Budget page here.
View the North Burnett Regional Council 2018-19 Budget Publication here.
View the North Burnett Regional Council 2018-19 Budget Newsletter here.