North Burnett Regional Council Mayor Rachel Chambers.
North Burnett Regional Council Mayor Rachel Chambers. Tobi Loftus

North Burnett residents cop much bigger rate rise than Bundy

MORE than half of residents in the North Burnett region are staring down the barrel of a $107.70 a year rate rise, after North Burnett Regional Council adopted its 2018-19 budget.

On Wednesday, North Burnett Mayor Rachel Chambers said the council would introduce a general rate increase of 3.5%, resulting in an increase of $107.70 per year for 62% of the North Burnett region.

The announcement came a week after Bundaberg Regional Council announced it would increase a 1.9 per cent rates rise.

"There is never any doubt, no one wants rates to increase,” Cr Chambers said.

"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.”

The council's $68 million budget will see $26 million spent on capital projects, while $42 million is dedicated to the day-to-day operation running of the council.

While residents might feel the pinch of a rates rise, the big winners are the region's roads, with $21 million, both capital and operational budget, allocated to maintaining the road network.

Among the largest projects are $4.99 million to improve flood resilience, $500,000 to immediately improve the B-Double network and $2.24 million to continue upgrades to timber bridges.

According to the council, 34 timber bridges needing upgrading across the region.

Also included in the budget is $2.4 million to redevelop Mingo crossing, $697,000 to improve sport and recreational facilities, $585,000 to improve accessibility with footpaths, wheelchair access and automated doors and $513,000 to improve parks and open spaces.

Cr Chambers said there was a lot to take into account when planning the budget, with careful consideration given to the 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 to adopting the 2018-19 Budget, Cr Chambers said the council has adopted a 10-year financial forecast - a plan to ensure financial stability and sustainability into the future.

To achieve this, the council plans to 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.

Residents can drop into any council customer service centre to view a copy of the budget or can view it online at www.northburnett.qld.gov.au.



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