Gladstone rates to rise 2.5% as council releases budget

Gladstone Mayor Gail Sellers with the region's 2013/14 budget.
Gladstone Mayor Gail Sellers with the region's 2013/14 budget. Contributed

GLADSTONE ratepayers will cop an average 2.5% rates hike in Gladstone Regional Council's $293 million budget, released this morning.

Gladstone Mayor Gail Sellers said the increases were amongst the lowest in Queensland, and said the 2013/14 year presented extreme challenges for the council.

"None more obvious though than the pressure of growth on our community and the inability of federal and state governments to provide essential funding to help us cope with the demands," she said.

While the increase in property values was set to see some rates bills skyrocket, council has committed to maintaining its rate cap of 10% for rural and residential properties and 15% for business and light industrial properties.

Cr Sellers said 55%, or 11,351 residential property owners, would receive a general rate reduction this financial year.

A further 23.7%, or 4877 properties, would receive an increase of less than CPI, while the balance would have varying increases.

Key announcements include $1.9 million to progress the Boyne Tannum Sports Park and $10 million to rural roads, improving flood immunity to residents.

Almost half of the council's budget will go towards capital expenditure, including $70.6 million for roads and drainage networks, with $45.2 million of that going towards flood damage repairs.

All premises receiving a domestic waste and recycling service will pay $7 or 2.7% more for their service this year.

Domestic sewerage charges in Gladstone, Boyne Island, Tannum Sands and Calliope will increase by $1 per week as part of a 10 year phase-in of parity pricing for access charges across the region.

The charge at Agnes Water and Seventeen Seventy has not been increased.

Domestic water access charges will increase by 62 cents per week in the Lake Awoonga Scheme, 79 cents per week in the Miriam Vale and Bororen Scheme, and 13 cents per week in the Agnes Water and Seventeen Seventy Scheme.

Consumption charges for those connected to the Miriam Vale and Bororen Scheme will increase by 10 cents to $3.60 per kilolitre and those on the Agnes Water and Seventeen Seventy Scheme will see the same increase to $3.65 per kilolitre.

The price for water in the Lake Awoonga treated water supply will increase by four cents per kilolitre to $1.59 per kilolitre, which continues to reflect the overall cost of water to council by the Gladstone Area Water Board under a pricing mechanism independently reviewed by the Queensland Competition Authority.

Today's budget is the second handed down by the current team of councillors.

See Tuesday's Gladstone Observer print edition for a full analysis and reaction to the budget