Three small airports to get upgrades in council budget

NORTH Burnett Regional Council has announced a $13.2 million upgrade over the next two years for the Mundubbera, Monto and Gayndah airports in its budget handed down yesterday.

Mayor Don Waugh said highlights from the budget include a 4.2% general rate increase for ratepayers, a major focus on the region's road and bridge network and the Eidsvold Water Treatment Plant.

"My vision for council is to grow and increase industry in the North Burnett and I believe that with Council and Community leadership this is something which can be achieved over the coming year," Cr Waugh said.

"A key to this vision is continuing to advocate with government for improved infrastructure and services such as telecommunication and roads."

Cr Waugh said the changes to the Federal Assistance Grant and the associated income loss were among the biggest challenges faced in the coming budget.

He said while the council would still offer in kind contributions to groups and organisations in the region that registered with the council, cash grants would not be available.

Cr Waugh said the average rate rise for urban residential properties would be 4.18% or $91.50 a year.

The figure is different for Monto and Mt Perry, which would be 3.33% and 4.74% respectively, combining the rate and utility figure.

Cr Waugh said the road and bridge network continued to be a major focus of council budgets.

The previous flood reconstruction works had been completed though the region was again hit by extensive flooding after Tropical Cyclone Marcia in February.

The estimated total cost of this was about $13 million, with works to be started this financial year.

Cr Waugh said the council would carry out a significant capital program for the 2015/16 financial year of a total of $25 million, with $17.6 million being sourced through external funding.

"A continued major area of focus is on the roads, streets and drainage with an estimated $4.5 million being spent in this asset group," he said.

Cr Waugh said the council operated seven separate water supply schemes and determined the net cost of providing a water supply in each scheme area would be fully funded by charges on those areas receiving a supply.

All centres would be charged $526 sewerage charges for the first pedestal.

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