Draft budget reveals what the council plans to roll-out across the region, but not everyone will be left happy.
Draft budget reveals what the council plans to roll-out across the region, but not everyone will be left happy. Cade Mooney

Curran defends rate rise, which could be 10% for some

MORE than half of ratepayers will cop a 2.5 per cent rate rise while some properties could be slugged with a 10 per cent rise, in Gympie Regional Council's draft budget.

The 2.5 per cent is higher than CPI (which is at 1.9 per cent), which flies fly in the face of Mayor Mick Curran's pre-election promise to keep rates at or below CPI.

Cr Curran has defended the rise, noting the budget was still not finalised.

"We've formulated this budget well in advance of what we have in previous years, and we have to sit and wait for movement in the last quarter of this year before the budget is adopted,” he said.

"There could well be movement upwards from that 1.9 as it stands at the moment.

Mayor Mick Curran.
Mayor Mick Curran. Tom Daunt

"It's a collaborative effort by all councillors... and there were some projects that councillors wanted in, which increased the (rate) percentage slightly.”

And, he said the budget still delivered in a context of the past few years.

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"It's the fourth lowest rate rise in councils history.

That's four budgets in a row that I've delivered that have been lower that have been lower than any other rate rise in (Gympie) council's history.”

Almost 8000 ratepayers will have their rates increased $2-$5 per week.

In other areas, the 10 per cent discount for water and sewage has been axed, but charges will be dropped to compensate.

The $65 Economic Levy has been earmarked for the Kilkivan Equestrian Centre, the Aerodrome, and the Upper Mary St revitalisation.

The Economic Levy will help fund upgrades to the Gympie Airport.
The Economic Levy will help fund upgrades to the Gympie Airport. LEEROY TODD

Put forward for public feedback the council has proposed a $132.1 million budget for 2018-19, up significantly from last year's $96.5 million budget.

It includes a $39.8 million capital program, which is expected to deliver a $1.3 million surplus.

There is also $14.5 million for roads, including $3.2 million for bridge replacement, $3.5 million for gravel road sealing.

A masterplan for the Mining Museum Precinct is also in the works, as well as the development of new business model for the Gympie Civic Centre, including the start of a an annual performing arts program.

Learning an engagement is also getting a hand with a pop-up library, and a part-time librarian at Tin Can Bay also put forth.

Cr Dan Stewart said the budget was a delicate balancing act for the council, which was faced with its own rising costs for basic services.

"We are caught a bit, but we do need to really need to take into account what people can afford to pay,” Cr Stewart said.

Cr Dan Stewart.
Cr Dan Stewart. Renee Albrecht

"We need to be very careful what we're spending on, and I think we need to look a bit more carefully at some of the projects we're spending money on.”

"I think there's some projects we don't need and I think there's some projects we can probably decrease in size.”

The draft is now open for public feedback in special community sessions at the following times and dates.

  • Kandanga Public Hall Monday May 21 6.30pm
  • Kilkivan Public Hall Tuesday May 22 6.30pm
  • Gympie Town Hall Boardroom Wednesday May 23 2pm
  • Gunalda Hall Thursday May 24 6.30pm
  • Cooloola Cove Veteran's Hall Monday May 28 6.30pm
  • Wolvi and District War Memorial Hall Tuesday May 29 6.30pm
  • Gympie Civic Centre Wednesday May 30 6.30pm

Bookings are required.

Comments can also be made online at www.gympie.qld.gov.au.

Submissions close on Wednesday May 30.

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