Cr Steve Cooper.
Cr Steve Cooper. Mike Knott BUN191217COOPER1

FINANCIAL YEAR: Council forecasts $4.27m surplus

BUNDABERG Regional Council is forecasting a surplus of $4.27million in the 2018-19 financial year, following a $12 million surplus in the current financial year.

Finance portfolio spokesman, councillor Steve Cooper, said the projected surplus showed that the council was operating within its means, despite challenges such as an 11 per cent rise in electricity costs and a $387,000 hike (12.7 per cent) in insurance premiums.

"Through strict expenditure control and sound financial management, the council has been able to absorb these increases and not pass on the higher charges to ratepayers," he said.

Cr Cooper said the council had a modest level of debt, well below State Government benchmarks.

"Loan funds will be directed towards projects such as the airport precinct development, West Bundaberg stormwater drainage and Gin Gin streetscape.

"To monitor sustainable borrowings the State Government's guidelines recommend the net financial liabilities ratio shouldn't exceed 60 per cent.

"The council's ratio is estimated at 6 per cent for FY2018-19."

Cr Cooper said the council has access to low-cost finance and the long-term forecast assumes a rate of 3.6 per cent for new borrowings.

He said total rate revenue was budgeted to rise 2.1 per cent, comprising a 1.9 per cent rate increase and 0.2 per cent growth in assessments.

Cr Cooper said individual ratepayers could see variations above or below the 1.9 per cent rate increase depending on property valuations and utility charges.

"There will be no increase next year in charges for water access or household rubbish collection," Cr Cooper said.

Rates comprise $148 million of the total $189 million operating revenue (78 per cent) budgeted by the council, with the balance received predominantly through fees and charges for the council services, and grants and subsidies.

As part of its commitment to sustainability, Cr Cooper said the council would spend $266 million over 10 years on renewal of existing assets.



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