Budget 2018/19 - Mayor Jenny Hill delivers 1.9 per cent rate rise
Date published: 26 June 2018
Mayor Jenny Hill has delivered Townsville City Council’s 2018-19 Budget with one of the lowest rates and utilities increases in Queensland – just 1.9 per cent.
Cr Hill’s strong financial management of Council’s finances has allowed her to deliver on another promise to keep rates and utility charges increases to the same level as inflation.
The average homeowner – with a land value of $160,000 – will pay just 51 cents per week extra for general rates and 81 cents more for utilities. The combined average weekly increase for rates and charges will be $1.32
Council’s 2017-18 financial results include a carryover of $6.4 million in unspent money from the Community Water Transition Support Package, which gives Council a forecast surplus of $11.4 million.
However, the underlying result for 2017-18 is a surplus of $2.3 million.
But for the effect of the Community Water Transition Support Package carryover, Council would have a $0.7 million underlying Budget surplus in 2018-19.
However, with the $6.4 million carryover from the grant funding, Council must report a $5.7 million deficit under current accounting rules.
Cr Hill said cutting red tape and removing inefficiencies had allowed Council to keep any cost increases for homeowners to a minimum.
“I made a pledge with the people of Townsville at the last election to ensure Council had a fair rates plan and my team of councillors has again delivered one of the lowest rate rises in Queensland,” Cr Hill said.
“I understand that many residents have been doing it tough over the past couple of years but our city is starting to benefit from an economic recovery.
“To help encourage that recovery Council is doing everything it can to try and put money back in the pockets of locals, whether it’s through keeping rates rises as low as possible or ensuring local firms win work on major projects.”
Council has retained some of the most generous pensioner discounts in Queensland, with eligible homeowners able to receive up to $800 of their rates bills annually. The concession program for pensioners costs $5.4 million in foregone revenue.
Pensioners will also now be able to register their first dog for free as long as it is de-sexed.
Council has also kept the early payment discount, which is used by about 90 per cent of residents and costs $15.4 million in foregone revenue.
Governance and Finance Committee Chair Cr Verena Coombe said Council had again delivered one of the lowest rate rises in Queensland to spare ratepayers any hip-pocket pain.
“Council has undertaken a major transformation package to make sure we are more efficient and redirecting our resources into core frontline services,” Cr Coombe said.
“As part of the changes, Council now has 100 new apprentices and trainees – the biggest intake in more than a decade.
“Council’s costs are rising much faster than the inflation rate but through strong financial management we have been able to cut red tape and inefficiencies to ensure our rates and charges have only risen by 1.9 per cent.
“There is still more work to do but the major reforms already enacted by Council have put us on a strong financial foundation for the future.”