Council’s 2020-2021 Budget – Managing for Sustainability
It was an honour to present the Council 2020-2021 Budget on Monday 29 June 2020, the first for this new term of Council.It was an honour to present the Council 2020-2021 Budget on Monday 29 June 2020, the first for this new term of Council.
Whilst all Budgets are challenging, given the ever growing demand on our services as Council responds to the needs of the community, this year has presented more difficulties due to the unprecedented times we are in – the unique and extraordinary economic challenges brought about by COVID-19. Council acknowledges many businesses and individuals in our community have been affected by significant loss of income and loss of jobs and this has weighed heavily on Council’s considerations.
The Budget reflects the need to urgently address that situation by the promotion of works and projects that will not only maintain Council jobs, but also create short term jobs, and assist to establish industry for long term job sustainability throughout the Shire.
The total Operating Budget for the year has been allocated at $36 million with an anticipated positive outcome being achieved at year end with an additional $23.9 million for Capital Works projects.
Council has plans to implement the following:
- No overall increase to Council rates and utility charges. Individual property owners may experience minor increases, or reductions to rates and utility charges compared to those paid last year. That is due to movements in individual property valuations and not because of any overall rate increase;
- Extend the time period for payment of rates from 30 days to 60 days;
- Introduction of a Hardship Policy in order to assist Council assess financial assistance for applicants on an individual basis; Normal charges on businesses, such as food licensing and trade waste fees, will be waived for the current financial year; and
- Extension of the Policy waiving General Rates for construction of new houses for a two year period.
Within the Operational Budget a wide range of services are provided such as, but not limited to the following:
- Road Management Services - $2,868,635;
- Waste Management Services - $2 ,850,839;
- Water Services - $1,792,031 ;
- Public Open Spaces Services - $1,748,026;
- Sewerage Services - $1,286,418 ; and
- Regulatory and Cemetery Services - $1,030,237.
Additional community allocations have also been made towards the following projects:
- Installation of disabled access to the Shire Hall Stage - $23,000;
- Preservation for library special collections - $45,000;
- Disabled parking along Lannercost Street - $15,000;
- Taylors Beach dredging - $125,000.
Allowance has also been made for the employment of a Youth Development Officer to deliver youth strategies and assistance while continuing our Ageing in Place Strategies for development of opportunities in those contrasting demographics.
Council will continue with its pensioner discount, with eligible homeowners able to receive a 20% rebate up to $200 off their rates bill annually.
To ensure employment opportunities, this year’s Budget will see a Capital Works Program of $23.9 million delivered with $13 million invested in roads, bridges, drainage and related infrastructure, $4.3 million targeting land improvements, such as pathways and parks, $1.5 million in water and sewerage works, a further $3.2 million focussed on refurbishing waste facilities, and $1.3 million supporting plant, equipment and information technology. Including:
- Disaster Relief Road Works - $10,857,901;
- Warrens Hill Landfill Rehabilitation - $3,175,000;
- Road rebuild and Reconstruction Program - $2,601,323;
- Economic Development Projects - $2,100,000;
- Car park enhancement at Dungeness - $1,190,000;
- Plant, Equipment, Tools and Fleet Replacement - $787,000;
- Electronic Water Meters - $650,000;
- Sewerage for Forrest Beach RV Park - $550,000;
- Footpath and Shared Pathway Refurbishment - $378,000;
- Parks and Open Spaces Renewal Program - $250,000;
- Ingham CBD Revitalisation Program (Stage 2 of 4) - $155,000; and
Council will ensure that these projects are implemented in suitably sized contracts to enable local contractors and businesses the opportunity to undertake the works. Council understands the need to pursue economic development projects in addition to economic diversification activities and as such is extremely mindful to support local business stimulus whenever possible.
The task of undertaking capping, profiling, drainage and emissions control works to existing and historical refuse disposal cells, some nearing 100 years old, has fallen upon this generation and Council has committed $3.2 million in this year’s program as the baseline start to additional works in future years to an estimated value of a further $3.1 million, with these initial works being complete by 2023.
Council continues to seek funding opportunities and will receive $2.4 million under the 2019-2021 Works for Queensland Program and a further $1.74 million under the 2020-2021 COVID Works for Queensland to assist with job creation and economic stimulus programs. The State Government support of this program is acknowledged.
Projects to enhance connecting pathways, landscape, shade, seating and improvements to existing facilities at Lucinda, Taylors Beach, Forrest Beach, Rotary Park, Kelly Theatre, Trebonne, Halifax and Dungeness will be undertaken utilising Works for Queensland funding.
In delivering the Budget, we acknowledge and thank all the work of the Chief Executive Officer Alan Rayment, the Directors and staff involved in putting the Budget together. It has been a tremendous effort and the manner in which it was undertaken certainly made the job easier for the Councillors.
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COUNCIL CONNECTIONS - 1 july 2020