Mayor Jack Dempsey
Mayor Jack Dempsey Emma Reid

BUDGET: Council adopts lowest rate rise in 10 years

TODAY the Bundaberg Regional Council moved to adopt a 1.9 per cent rate rise as it handed down the 2018/19 budget.

The increase, understood to be the lowest rate rise in the the council's 10-year history, is significantly lower than last year's increase of 3.45 per cent, and lower still than the 3.5 per cent announced last week by the Sunshine Coast Regional the council.

The council is forecasting a surplus of $4.27million in 2018-19 from a total operating budget of $189million.

Rate revenue is set to increase by 1.9 per cent to a total of $148 million. The increase is in line with the national Consumer Price Index (CPI of 1.9 per cent, March quarter 2018).

Mayor Jack Dempsey said the council was determined to minimise cost-of-living pressures.

"The council is living within its means and we're being prudent in our spending decisions," he said.

The budget commits $90million to capital projects, including nearly $20million for roads, $6.57million for stormwater drainage, $3.25million for parks and sporting facilities, and $2.67 million for footpaths.

"These works build better communities and stimulate the local economy," Cr Dempsey said.

"Many of these projects will be undertaken by local contractors, delivering flow-on benefits to the regional economy."

$4million has been allocated for the Elliott Heads foreshore redevelopment and $5 million to develop the economic potential of the aviation and aerospace precinct at Bundaberg Airport.

Water access and household waste charges have been frozen at the 2017-18 level and a two per cent operational efficiency dividend will be introduced across the council in 2019-20.

Cr Dempsey said the council was focused on minimising rate rises and meeting community expectations for enhanced facilities.

"The capital works plan will deliver tangible improvements to almost every neighbourhood in the region," he said.

"From picnic shelters to footpaths, playgrounds and better drainage, most people will see changes that improve the amenity of where they live.

"There is a strong focus on maintaining the condition of existing facilities, with $22.5million allocated to renewing assets.

"The council is also taking a long-term view of major projects such as the CBD revitalisation, recognising the need for careful design work, extensive consultation and partnerships with the state and federal governments."

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