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29 June, 2021

Council rate increase

MACKAY homeowners owners will soon experience a rate increase of 1.5 percent.

By Andrew Sorensen

Mayor Greg Williamson

This week’s (as reported in the June 25 edition)  Mackay Regional Council budget meeting revealed the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 1.7 percent in March.

The CPI is a measure that examines the weighted average of prices of a basket of consumer goods and services, such as transportation, food, and medical care.

Mayor Greg Williamson said options considered were to either cut services or “we can acknowledge the fact that the cost of those services (have) gone up by 1.7 percent in Queensland.

“We can drive some efficiencies and what we’ve done now is put our rates up by 1.5 percent to recover the costs,” Mayor Williamson said. "That’s about 43 odd cents a week for the average residential ratepayer in the district.

“The residential rate is $2900. We believe at $57 a week, that’s a pretty good rate to be able to pay for the services we deliver.”

He explained that their services go up “like any normal household budget”, adding that 80 percent of the council budget was taken up by normal services like roads maintenance.

“We need to recover that for the operation of the council. We don’t make a profit out of operating the council,” he said.

“All we can do is add up what it costs to deliver water, sewerage, roads, drains, parks and cemeteries, all of those ... we provide as a service.

“We add that up and we divide that cost as, what we call a general rate, into the 52,000 rateable properties that we have in our region.”

At the meeting, Council revealed the good news they have a healthy cash balance of $122 million and were able to reduce their debt.

“Our capital works program is about $109 million for this year, and we’re going to build some significant structures in the Mackay Region in terms of capital works,” the Mayor said.

He said that $24 million of “new capital, in terms of the new assets and the rest of it is on re newing our new assets or making our current assets a little bit better”.

“Major programs that we’re going to deliver right (include) increasing our funding to things like the mountain bike track, Northern Beaches Community Hub, putting money into the Priority Development Access (PDA),” he said.

“We’re actually going to start work on the riverfront of the PDA of this financial budget.

“It’s quite exciting.”

The Animal Management Pound at Mount Basset will also be finished.

“About $2.5 million will see the completion of that, which will deliver us one of the best animal management facilities on the eastern seaboard,” the Mayor said.

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