Redland City delivers affordable 2019-20 budget


“Affordability” is the focus of Redland City Council’s balanced budget for 2019-20 which was adopted today.

The budget delivers a small projected operational surplus while keeping the average rates and charges increase to 2.66 percent – or about 62 cents a week – for a typical category 1a, owner-occupied household, excluding utilities and State Government charges.

It also delivers a $58.4 million capital works program targeted at growing and sustaining community infrastructure vital to the Redlands Coast’s future, especially roads and parks.

Mayor Karen Williams said the preservation of the Redlands Coast’s lifestyle and need to offset external cost pressures and the effects of a State Government land revaluation had been at the heart of budget considerations.

“The result is a balanced and affordable budget that supports the lifestyle that we love here,” Cr Williams said.

“Residents tell us they do not want the livability of Redlands Coast compromised, and we can only achieve that if we manage our finances responsibly.

“This reflects the need to continue to invest in the infrastructure that the community tells us that it wants prioritized, while also working hard to bring the budget back into surplus by tightening our organisational belts and finding savings.

“We have been able to achieve this despite a State land revaluation pushing up the values on which rates are based by more than 10 percent on average.”

Cr Williams said Council was investing significantly in the city’s intergenerational assets such as road, sewerage, canal and community projects while maintaining its no net debt position.

“By balancing the budget and ensuring there is no net debt through borrowing only for vital intergenerational assets we have guaranteed this city’s good financial health,” she said.

“Our strong financial stewardship means we can secure the 61 hectares of Birkdale Commonwealth land and the site adjacent the council reserve at Cleveland Point for the community.

“These areas will add significantly to our community estate, which now boasts almost 9,800 hectares of community-owned land. Under this Budget a further $8.7 million will be invested in protecting this land and potentially buying other strategic land that benefits the community and local environment.”

Cr Williams said that while Council had kept its water-associated increases to less than 2 percent, the first increase since the 2015-16 budget, the State had raised its bulk water charges by
6.8 percent, which added $37.40 to ratepayers’ average annual bills.

“To put it into perspective, this year’s State rise will take this city’s total bulk water bill to almost
$40 million and nearly $172 million over five years,” Cr Williams said.

“We are also affected by the State Government’s new levy on all waste sent to landfill, including waste generated from households, businesses and the construction industry.

“While the State has provided a payment to partially cover the cost of its new waste levy, our real-world budgeting shows there will be a shortfall.”

Cr Williams said Council remained unwavering in its commitment to offset cost increases by becoming smarter and more efficient and was continuing to seek greater support through funding from the State and Federal governments.

“Just under 5.7 per cent of this budget is expected to come from State and Federal Government grants, so it is our residents who are doing the heavy lifting,” she said.

“We will continue to advocate for more State and Federal funding for our community, as we did recently when we joined councils across the nation to lobby for an increase in the Federal Assistance Grants.

“We are also investigating a series of innovative solutions aimed at finding savings for our residents. Everything from alternative power options, innovative transport solutions and a collaborative regional approach to reducing waste costs, show our commitment to continuous improvement and insulating our community against these rising costs.”

The 2019-20 budget at a glance:

  • A typical Redlands resident owner-occupied household (category 1a with a property value of about $266,122) will see a 2.66 percent increase on Council rates and charges, excluding utilities and the State Government bulk water charge.
  • A small projected operating surplus, effectively a “balanced budget’’.
  • Capital expenditure of $58.4 million.
  • The State Government’s bulk water charge, over which Council has no control, increases another 6.8 percent this year to almost $40 million.
  • Council’s retail water costs up by about 2 percent, the first increase since 2015.
  • Commercial rate increase for the main category covering small business limited to
    6 percent (excluding separate charges, utility charges and State Government charges).
  • New borrowings for intergenerational capital works of $9.8 million – maintaining Council’s no net debt position.
  • Total pensioner rebates rises to more than $3 million, with $335 a year for a full pensioner or $167.50 for a part-pensioner.
  • $8.7 million will be invested in protecting community-owned land and potentially buying other strategic land that benefits the community and local environment.

Capital expenditure program at a glance:

  • $21 million for roads projects.
  • $6.8 million for infrastructure projects, including footpaths, cycle paths, continued expansion of the Redlands IndigiScapes Centre and bus shelter and seat renewals.
  • $6.4 million for marine and foreshore projects, including canal and breakwater works.
  • $4.8 million for water, waste and wastewater projects.
  • Almost $9.5 million to go towards renewing playgrounds, parks and sports fields.
  • $1.5 million for community and cultural development.

Go to our website at redland.qld.gov.au/budget for full budget information.