Council focuses on cost savings and low debt

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Bill Lowis today delivered a $59 million budget which is focused on cost savings and low debt.

Mayor Bill Lowis said the total budgeted rates and charges increase compared to last year’s Budget was 3.9 per cent.

“Like Councils across the nation, Burdekin is burdened by ever-increasing costs and demands,” he said.

“The freezing of government financial assistance grants, rising electricity costs, insurance and increasing costs of materials are all things our Council has no control over.

“However, our team is addressing these costs by working smarter and finding savings across the board.

“Council has made cuts where we can and our Council officers have helped by finding 5 per cent productivity dividends in their departments.

“We are making savings by doing works ourselves and sourcing competitively priced goods and services.

“Our debt level is falling. Council will not borrow any funds this financial year and as at June 30, 2016, will have an external debt of $6.5 million. This compares to a debt level 10 years ago of $12.1 million.”

Cr Lowis said the general rate and waste service charge would each increase 3.5 per cent, the sewerage access charge would increase 5 per cent and the water access charge would increase 4 per cent.

“All of our funds are balanced or have operating surpluses which help demonstrate Council’s future sustainability,” he said.

“Our minimum general rate has been kept below the average increase at 3 per cent to $981.”

Cr Lowis said the average yearly residential rates, based on an average land valuation of $89,238, would increase by $82.68 for the year or $1.59 a week.

“The 2015-16 Budget includes approximately $44.9 million in operational expenditure,

“Of this amount about $10.5 million is depreciation and amortisation.

“Our capital expenditure will be approximately $14.4 million.”

The Mayor said this was a significant, but prudent, spend in the Burdekin community.

“Last year I flagged the need for a review of the level of infrastructure assets and levels of service,” he said.

“I am pleased to say we have not dropped any services, yet our team has been able to provide our community with better service.”

Some of the major projects include the following:

  • $9.7 million for maintenance and capital works on roads, drainage and reseals.
  • $2.1 million for construction of new waste cell at Kirknie Road Landfill.
  • $1.9 million for flood damaged restoration works approved under Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements and funded by the State and Federal Governments.
  • $1.2 million for sewer relining and manhole refurbishment program
  • $500,000 for water projects
  • $520,000 in community support
  • $460,000 to complete Stage 2 of the Burdekin Rural Multi-Tenant Service Centre at the Burdekin PCYC
  • $335,000 for the development of the Ayr Industrial Estate
  • $250,000 for major drainage schemes
  • $225,000 for Ayr Aerodrome electrical upgrade
  • $180,000 to refurbish cabins, upgrade power heads and re-roof the ablutions block at Council’s Burdekin Cascades Caravan Park
  • $85,000 for refurbishment of ablutions block at Home Hill Caravan Park
  • $75,000 for Burdekin Memorial Hall
  • $50,000 to upgrade playground equipment at Coutts Park, Ayr
  • $50,000 towards the establishment of the Community Hub
  • $45,000 to erect a shade structure over the existing columbarium at Home Hill Cemetery
  • $30,000 to refurbish the public convenience at Lions Park, Home Hill

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