The Central Highlands Regional Council today adopted a $222.1 million budget for 2021-2022 that contains a 3% rate increase for the average household.
Central Highlands Regional Council Mayor Kerry Hayes said it is a budget that adapts to the current economic climate.
‘This region has avoided much of the nation’s recession,’ the mayor explained.
‘However, we want to make sure that the region stays strong and that will be achieved with balanced and responsible budgets.
‘I’m proud to say that Central Highlands has one of the strongest local government financial positions in Queensland and that’s due to the sensible decisions we’ve made and the prudent investment in capital projects over the last eight years,’ the mayor said.
‘There have been substantive increases in valuations across the state, including this region. The Central Highlands shows an overall increase in valuations on non-rural properties of 3.6% and rural properties of 96%.
‘To ensure that we retain an equitable contribution from our key sectors, rural rates will increase by 5%.
‘We’re using capping to restrict any individual rural ratepayer increase by more than 15% of their last assessment,’ the mayor explained.
Ratepayers will see increases in water, sewerage and waste charges for the coming year.
‘It is essential that council continues on a path to full cost recovery for utilities,’ the mayor said.
‘This not only ensures council is able to meet future utilities needs of the community but is necessary under the competitive neutrality principles.
‘Relying on cross-subsidisation from the general rates revenue to provide these essential services is not feasible in the long-term.’
Central Highlands has committed $59.9 million towards a capital works program that includes $2.7 million for the Emerald Community Kindergarten redevelopment; $4.0 million to resheet roads; and $3.75 million to upgrade Willies Creek Royles Road.
‘Council has retained incentives for regional investment at $250,000 and the 50% discount for eligible pensioners with the discount retained at 5%.
‘This is a flexible budget for extraordinary conditions,’ the mayor said.
‘It’s a shifting changing economic landscape and this council has risen to the challenge with a sensible budget that reaches for long-term financial sustainability.’