Council’s budget position remains strong despite COVID challenge

Date published: 27 January 2021

Townsville City Council remains focussed on delivering its core services and capital works program despite uncertainty generated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Releasing the mid-year budget review today, Mayor Jenny Hill said the Council’s fiscal responsibility in recent years ensured it faced the challenges of COVID from a position of stability.

“Like all levels of government, Council faced uncertainty during 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Cr Hill said.

“Even today, the full economic implications of COVID-19 are yet to be fully understood.

“Townsville City Council’s 2020/21 budget was adopted in June 2020 in contrast to the state and federal budgets which were delivered in October.

“The mid-year review gives the Council an opportunity to update the community on its financial position as well as realign forecast expectations for the financial year given the state and federal government budgets and operational changes.”

Cr Hill said Council was delivering jobs for the community through capital investment and had a plan for renewing public assets and infrastructure and maintaining services to the community.

“We are continuing to deliver vital new and enhanced infrastructure from the city to the suburbs with a $235 million capital investment,” she said.

“This includes investing heavily in our infrastructure such as water main renewals, our water and wastewater system and treatment facilities, as well as upgrading roads and footpaths.”

Cr Hill said the Council had identified the need to introduce an increase of 2 per cent to general rates to cover increased external costs such as insurance.

“When the 2020/21 budget was adopted at the end of June, I made a commitment to the people of Townsville that there would be no rise to general rates for owner occupiers for a 6-month period to assess the impact of COVID-19,” she said.

“At the time Council changed its operations to absorb the increased costs.

“However, as part of this review, Council has identified the need to introduce an increase of 2 per cent to general rates to cover external costs and ensure essential services are maintained in the short and longer term.

“This equates to an increase of around 56 cents per week for the average household. There will be no increase to utility charges.”

View the 2020-21 Mid Year Budget Review here.