2017/18 Budget - Budget delivers rates break, strong financial plan for city

Date published: 27 June 2017

Mayor Cr Jenny Hill today handed down a City Budget that delivers a disciplined financial plan for on-going downward pressure on rates, quality services and a return to surplus.

The 2017/18 Budget also fulfils election commitments for a hard waste pick-up and free green waste dumping, and a $180 million capital works program to support jobs and economic activation.

Following last year’s rates freeze, the 2017/18 Budget provides an upfront 5% cut to gross general rates for all residential ratepayers to assist households who miss out on the early payment discount.

The Council will forego $2.4 million in revenue to provide the 5% cut for all residential ratepayers no matter when they pay. The early payment discount will be reduced from 15% to 10%.

Council has kept utilities charges (water, sewerage, waste) at around CPI 2.1% to further limit the impact of increasing costs on the community.

Overall nett rates and charges after discount on a home with the most common valuation of $160,000 will rise around 1.48% or 88 cents a week, one of the lowest in the State.

Mayor Cr Jenny Hill said transformational changes across council provided the financial sustainability to support low rates rises, quality services and balanced books.

“This is a strong Budget that continues to deliver on my team’s commitments to the community, and provides a rates break for battlers,” Cr Hill said.

“The rates freeze and undertaking the long overdue restructure of the council were the big priorities in year one and we’ve delivered.

“These reforms are making the council’s operations leaner and more efficient and the effects are immediately paying off for our residents.

“This year’s Budget delivers another break for battlers, at a time when the economy is tough for everyone.

“We have also funded key commitments - including the hard waste collection and free green waste dumping – and ensured we have a secure water supply with $5.5 million set aside for the cost of pumping of water from the Burdekin.

“The Budget also invests heavily in maintaining our parks, roads, water and sewerage infrastructure, and the services that build on our great lifestyle.”

Despite major cost impacts this year, the council has forecast successive surpluses over the next decade, starting with a modest surplus of $113,000 in 2017/18.

Big financial hits this year include a forecast $11 million drop in revenue from rates, fees and charges, cost of pumping water from the Burdekin as well as increased price impacts for services and materials.

Council expects around $14 million in annual savings in wages from the restructure along with $14 million in further efficiencies from improved procurement processes, light vehicle fleet review, while frontline services will remain unaffected.

View 2017/18 Budget page