Team effort: Mayor Ron Dyne delivers the budget yesterday, watched by council CEO Ken Mason.
Team effort: Mayor Ron Dyne delivers the budget yesterday, watched by council CEO Ken Mason. Renee Pilcher

Painful rates equalisation finished

GYMPIE Region rates went up a lot or came down slightly, depending on where you live, in a council budget which yesterday completed the painful process of rates equalisation across our now amalgamated council area.

Charges are up by an equal amount on all properties, except for the Infrastructure Charge, which is unchanged, and differences in Cleansing Charges between properties with a garbage collection service, those without and those in a garbage collection area who opt not to have a collection service.

The prompt payment discount is 5 per cent and the rebate for eligible pensioners will be $140 a year.

Presenting the budget at a Special General Meeting of council at Gympie Town Hall yesterday, Mayor Ron Dyne described the budget process as “always a challenge”.

“There is increasing emphasis on council plans for the future and implementing decisions that will ensure the financial sustainability of this council into the future.

“It takes a dedicated team of strong individuals who are prepared to make difficult decisions to advance the Gympie Region and maintain a financially sustainable council,” Mr Dyne said.

“To achieve this...many of the decisions that had to be made in this and coming budgets for this term of council may not be popular but have been necessary to establish a firm footing for the future of the region.

“The global economic downturn experienced last year has eased and has enabled council to consolidate its financial position and I am pleased this budget contains no new loan borrowings.

“The budget also provides for council to maintain its existing level of services and allows for a stable workforce.”

The budget projects total council spending at $131 million.

Rates equalisation, something never attempted by the previous Cooloola Shire Council (following its creation from the amalgamation of the former Gympie City and Widgee Shire councils), is complete with this year’s budget. This will be a painful experience for many residents, especially in areas such as Goomeri, the Mary Valley and some Southside properties, while some property owners in areas like Kilkivan and Tin Can Bay may be slightly better off, or not much worse off.

As a general example on property with a valuation of $92,000 (prepared by the Department of Environment and Resource Management effective from July 1, 2008), Gympie city residential rates have risen from $842.50 to $882.50, with a gross amount including charges of $2300.

The charges, applicable to all areas where the relevant services are provided, are: $239.80 for cleansing (garbage collection), up from $223.28 last year; $462.40 for water, up from $420; $513.20 for sewerage, up from $475.20; $27.50 for the environment levy, up from $26.50; $75 for waste management, up from $70; an unchanged $100 for infrastructure.

A gross amount of $2300.80, up 6.63 per cent, with a 5 per cent prompt payment discount of $108.67 in the Gympie example provided by council yesterday, leaves a net payment of $2192.14 a year for non-pensioners.

At Southside (on a $100,000 property) the gross is $2313.69, up 7.68 per cent, or $2204.38 after discount. At Gympie North (valuation $155,000), owners will pay $2293.18, up 1.5 per cent, or $2184.90 after discount. At Tin Can Bay ($719,000) owners pay $4852.39, down 5.91 per cent from last year, or $4616.15.

Rainbow Beach ($215,000) will cost $2516.94, up 8.17 per cent or $2397.47; Cooloola Cove ($103,000) $2300, up 7.08 per cent, or $2192.14; Kilkivan ($114,000) $2225.40, up 3.3 per cent, or $2120.51; Goomeri ($35,500) $2225.40, up 9.94 per cent, or $2120.51; Curra ($44,500) $1258.40, up 8.76 per cent, or $1201.86; Imbil ($68,000) $2300.80, up 6.34 per cent, or $2192.14; Kandanga ($43,500) up 6.82 per cent to $1787.60 or $1704.60.


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