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