Council talks up its budget

The Southern Downs Regional Council is calling for community feedback on the 2019-2020 Draft Budget which it says proposes the lowest general rate rise in more than 10 years.

A council statement issued this week said general rates will increase by two per cent and SDRC plans to extend the early payment discount period to 60 days to assist residents impacted by ongoing drought conditions.

Deputy Mayor and Councillor for Finance, Governance and the Arts Jo McNally said the Draft Budget “builds on the strong financial foundation Council has created and promotes future growth and sustainability”.

“Our goal is to balance providing services and secure infrastructure to our residents without overburdening our ratepayers, and this Draft Budget strikes that balance,” Cr McNally said.

“The two per cent general rates increase will help Council meet the ongoing rising costs of doing business that Council has faced over the last 12 months.

“With the lowest general rates rise in 11 years, Council will need to carefully manage finances, but with the sound financial practices this Council has established, we should still be able to put money into infrastructure reserves and decrease our debt while continuing to provide high quality services to our residents.”

Cr McNally said the council’s financial sustainability has been “supported by the enormous success SDRC has had in securing government funding”.

She said utility charges for water, sewer and waste will not change from the 2018-2019 Financial Year and remain at 2.75 per cent which will go towards renewing and maintaining infrastructure.

“SDRC will allocate $35.58 million to capital works projects in the region to ensure that Council continues to provide essential services for residents,” Cr McNally said.

“Council is always looking for new ways to improve the region’s liveability for our residents and communities and that’s why the Draft Budget focuses on spending significant funds on roads, water and wastewater, waste management and community facilities for our residents.

“Some of the proposed projects include street sealing in Glen Alpin, replacing Palmer Bridge at Freestone, commencing work on a new waste transfer station for Stanthorpe and extending the region’s recycled water network.”

Cr McNally said councillors endorsed the Draft Budget at a Special Council Meeting on Wednesday 13 March and are now “seeking input from the community before finalising the budget for the next financial year”.

“Throughout April, SDRC will host information sessions across the region and provide an opportunity for residents to share their views and ideas;” she said.

“Residents can also submit feedback via the ‘Have your Say’ form on Council’s website.

“These information sessions and feedback forms are the community’s opportunity to suggest how Council should spend funds and tell us what projects are important to them.

“In past years, residents have suggested projects during the feedback process that Council then funded and delivered in that financial year.”

You can view the Draft Budget and submit your ‘Have Your Say’ forms at www.sdrc.qld.gov.au

(SUBHEAD)

Draft Budget community information sessions…

• Warwick Town Hall – Tuesday 2 April, 6pm-7pm

• Wallangarra Hall – Thursday 4 April, 6pm-7.3pm

• Killarney Senior Citizens Centre – Tuesday 9 April, 6pm-7.30pm

• Leyburn Hall – Wednesday 10 April, 6pm-7.30pm

• Maryvale Hall – Thursday 11 April, 6pm-7.30pm

• Stanthorpe Civic Centre Supper Room – Tuesday 16 April, 6pm-7.30pm

• Allora Community Hall – Thursday 18 April, 6pm-7.30pm

You can make a submission on the Draft Budget in person at the Warwick, Stanthorpe or Allora council offices or by post to –

The Chief Executive Officer

Southern Downs Regional Council

PO Box 26

Warwick QLD 4370

The council has said no anonymous submissions will be accepted and you must provide your full name and telephone number. If you consider there to be compelling reasons why your submission should be kept confidential contact Andrew Page, Manager Finance and Information Technology on 1300 697 372.

All feedback must be submitted by 28 April 2019.

Your first stop before buying a home. View the whole picture.