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By Jeremy Sollars

Ratepayers face a 2.75 per cent rates hike in the new Southern Downs Regional Council budget for 2018-2019 formally adopted by councillors at a special meeting in Warwick today, Wednesday 13 June.

The council says it will reduce its debt by a further $1.5 million next financial year, with budget papers showing outstanding borrowings are currently around $20 million.

A new operating surplus of just $146,000 is forecast for 2018-2019 and employee costs are expected to rise by $71,000.

Mayor Tracy Dobie told a public meeting at the Warwick Town Hall last week on the Warwick Saleyards that the council currently has cash reserves of $52 million.

Back on the program for the new financial year is the Invasive Pest Control Scheme (IPCS) which will see rural and industrial landowners hit with a ‘supplementary rates notice’ – at a minimum of $500 – if they fail to comply with pest weed and animal control regulations.

The scheme will cost the council $5,310,000 to implement in 2018-2019.

Major capital works for 2018-2019 include…

• $6.6m upgrade of trunk raw water main from Storm King Dam to Mt Marley, Stanthorpe (part State-funded)

• $7m for upgrades to unsealed roads

• $2m to replace Palmer Bridge on Freestone Road

• $2.7m for widening and rehabilitation of Amiens, Forest Plains, Inverramsay and Sundown Roads

• Improvements to drainage at Easey Street, Warwick

For more on the budget visit www.sdrc.qld.gov.au and click on the ‘Council meetings’ tab.

Councillors also discussed the renewal of a range of leases in a confidential section of today’s special meeting. The minutes are not yet live on the council website.

The leases were…

Trustee Leases between Council and –

• Risdon Shooting Complex Incorporated

• Warwick Power Boat and Ski Club Incorporated

• Warwick District Recreational Fish Stocking Association Incorporated

• Warwick Artists Group

• Warwick Horse Trials Incorporated

• Warwick Croquet Club Incorporated

• Warwick Bowls Club Incorporated

• Warwick Clay Target Club Incorporated

Renewal of Freehold Leases between Council and –

• Warwick and District Tennis Association Incorporated

• Warwick District Football Association Incorporated

• Warwick District Sporting Car Club Incorporated

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