What we can expect in today's council budget
Mayor says rates rise will be lowest in eight years
THE 2016-17 budget, to be adopted on Friday, is expected to contain one of the lowest rate rises in the eight year life of the amalgamated Bundaberg Regional Council.
Mayor Jack Dempsey said Council will deliver on a promise made to ratepayers who he said were battling to meet the annual increased costs of not only Council provided services, but also daily living costs associated with insurances, electricity and communications.
"This Council is not about setting records. It is about delivering affordability to its residents through the effective and efficient delivery of its core services.
"I believe we will deliver a budget that is within the financial reach of ratepayers, maintain the momentum of business and jobs growth across the region, provide employment for our staff and assist in energising the private sector.
"The draft budget does not contain any significant new announcements or projects but will provide funding to ensure the future infrastructure needs of our community are met and we play a shared role in providing an economic stimulus for the region.
"As a Council we have a focus on revitalising our CBD areas, not only in Bundaberg but also our regional communities of Childers and Gin Gin which are experiencing tough times.
"In Bundaberg, Council is finalising its CBD and Riverside precinct strategies which also includes a major traffic study.
"There are projects currently under construction that are instrumental in shaping the future of the Bundaberg region.
"Projects like the Rubyanna Waste Water Treatment Plant and the Multipurpose Sports and Community facility are projects required now - right now.
"Council does not want to find itself in the position of 'chasing its tail' and playing catch-up in providing infrastructure essential to meet growth demand.
"Across the region Council is delivering its part in ensuring an environmentally sustainable future for our communities.
"Our treatment plants are making use of incredibly clean treated effluent on cane farms and in the process minimising river discharges.
"We maintain a vision for a healthy community and continue with a program of funding bikeways and pathways across the region.
"Council realises the importance of good roads both from a community safety aspect and as a pathways to prosperity for our producers and those requiring transport avenues. Roads will remain a big ticket item for Council in 2016/17.
"Council is continuing its program of upgrading its information technology which is essential to allow officers to utilise technology in the field for efficiencies, better communication with our residents and allows Council to appropriately meet its statutory obligations regarding correspondence and record keeping.
"Your Council will be looking to continue the beneficial dialogue it currently has with both levels of government and I am confident we will see exciting partnership announcements in the coming months and years.
"I feel the delivery of our budget on Friday will clearly show Council is connected with community expectation and is delivering the right economic strategy for progress in the Bundaberg region."\
Capital expenditure to be released in today's budget
A massive capital expenditure program is at the centre of Bundaberg Regional Council's 2016/17 budget to be announced on Friday.
Mayor Jack Dempsey said investment in local projects and infrastructure is a key financial driver for the Bundaberg Region and Council is clearly planning to play its role in delivering this economic stimulus.
"Our planned capital expenditure is only overshadowed by the $152 million spent in the flood year of 2013/14 and that expenditure was significantly supplemented by National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangement (NDRRA) funding.
"This coming financial year Council will allocate in excess of $38 million to the Rubyanna project and more than $10 million to the Multiplex Stage 1 construction.
"More than $28 million will be injected directly into the regions roads, bridges and pathways through rehabilitation, resurfacing and construction programs.
"While Council has budgeted to borrow $24 million in the 16/17 financial year to help fund its major projects, this borrowing figure may be adjusted down contingent on additional grant funding from the state or federal governments.
"Our capital expenditure budget also allows for Council to pay down more than $8 million in debt with Council's debt position expected to sit at around $80 million at the end of the 2016/17 financial year. Again, further government grants may drive this figure lower.
"Council debt is extremely manageable and by the end of the 2025/26 financial year our debt position is anticipated at $47 million."
"The equal distribution of our capital expenditure will be reflected in our region wide investment in water, sewerage, roads and pathway projects.
"This investment ensures Council meets its commitment to deliver on service and infrastructure provisions that benefit all ratepayers," said Cr Dempsey.
Business to benefit from budget stimulus
Community expectation that local businesses should be a key beneficiary of Council expenditure is a sentiment shared by Bundaberg Regional Council Mayor Jack Dempsey.
In highlighting important aspects of the 2016/17 Council budget, Mayor Dempsey said it was simply good economic sense for Council to support local business in every practical manner.
"This year we have a massive capital expenditure program of almost $124 million and much of this will be targeted to local business.
"Council observes a practice in awarding tenders where the question is posed to potential contract winners as to the level of local benefit there will be from the awarding of a contract.
"In Council's draft budget, to be adopted today (Friday), we have several major projects identified that will result in millions of dollars being spent with local business operators, contractors and sub-contractors.
"Rubyanna Waste Water Treatment Plant, a $71 million project has commenced with major earthworks involved in preparing an access road and pad for the plant. Local earthmoving company Berajondo Earthmoving have been awarded that contract.
"The work on this project will ramp up in coming months and again, numerous contractors supplying steel, concrete and a host of other materials will financially benefit from this job.
"Likewise the $14.5 million being invested in the multiuse community and sports facility at the old showgrounds site will provide a financial stimulus for local business.
"Even projects like the replacement of the Monduran Bridge crossing will ensure local suppliers or local workers snare a lion's share of the $3 million being invested in that project.
"There are numerous smaller contracts that are awarded on a regular basis to people who undertake various contract work for Council such as mowing or slashing to name a couple.
"As a Council we want to see the funds provided to Council through our rates collection being reinvested with our community. It assists in providing financial stability for employers and jobs for their employees."
The 2016/17 budget will be adopted at the Council Chambers today (Friday) at noon.