Water, sewerage rates rise flushes away savings
RATEPAYERS are angry at the rates hike announced by Gladstone Regional Council in its budget on Wednesday.
Water bills are set to increase by 14.9%, sewerage by 9.4%, waste by 6.4% and general rates by 2.67%.
The council said the rates increases were necessary for long-term financial stability.
But online comments on Thursday's budget stories in The Observer slammed the rates hike, with people in Boyne Island, Kin Kora, Kirkwood, Mt Larcom and other areas expressing anger, frustration and disappointment at the 5.8% rate increase across all services.
Calliope resident Sonya Robson said a 14.9% increase in her water bill was going to hit hard.
"It's too high. We already pay too much - $400 or $500 every quarter," she said.
Ms Robson's one-acre property has gardens and lawns, and while she uses rainwater tanks to tend them, town water is a supplement.
"We have lawns and gardens, and like to keep them green," she said.
A long-term resident, Ms Robson said she would not mind copping the rates hike if she could see benefits from Gladstone Regional Council.
But that transparency just isn't there at the moment, she said.
"At the end of the day, if we're going to see where the money is going, that's fine.
"But that's not tangible at this stage."
According to Gladstone Regional Council, the 14% water rates increase had to happen and would help ensure residents receive reliable access to potable water into the future.
Chief financial officer Mark Holmes said the former pricing structure covered day-to-day costs of the water service but did not adequately provide for the decline in asset value over time.
"Council has for years recognised that its rates were well below the cost of providing the service," he said.
The council needs to be putting money aside, according to Mr Holmes, to ensure reservoirs, treatment plans and other water infrastructure can be replaced when the need arises.
NEW WATER RATES
Lake Awoonga scheme
- $401. Up $52
Miriam Vale / Bororen scheme
- $485. Up $34
Agnes Water / Seventeen Seventy scheme
- $496. Up $35