Redland City Council’s 2014-15 Budget will lay the foundations for a strong future and ease cost of living pressures on residents by again keeping rate rises to a minimum.
Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said this year’s $259 million Budget included a headline rates increase of 3.48 per cent, one of the lowest increases in South East Queensland for the third consecutive year .
“This is a budget for tomorrow, delivering today for Redland City, and for Redlanders,” Cr Williams said
“Under this year’s budget the average owner-occupied property (rating category 1A) will see a general rate increase of less than 80 cents per week.
“Council’s net result, which includes operating and capital revenue, is a predicted surplus of $10.16 million.
“This has been achieved at the same time as we have again absorbed millions of dollars in external costs rather than passing them on to residents in the form of higher rates.
“The Budget also provides funding for the commencement of key long-term strategic projects and a $61.9 million capital program that will create a positive legacy for Redland City for generations to come.
“Our strategic projects include marketing our key waterfront projects at Toondah Harbour and Weinam Creek to investors. This funding will help secure investor buy-in to complete these long awaited projects, meaning this important community infrastructure will be paid for by investors rather than ratepayers.
“This year’s budget also provides $2.7 million in rebates for our pensioners, with a full discount of $330.”
Cr Williams said a relentless focus on efficiency and savings allowed Council to absorb millions of dollars of external costs.
“Council is not immune to the massive cost increases being felt by residents. We are being hit with a 13.5 per cent increase in electricity and a 7 per cent fuel price hike, on top of the State Government’s increase in fuel excise and a more than 14.27 per cent increase in bulk water costs,” she said.
“These increases are outside our control and have combined to drive up Council’s operational expenses by $12 million, or nearly 7 per cent.
“If we had passed on these increases in full ratepayers would have been slugged with a hike of nearly 10 per cent.
“We were not willing to do this and instead have absorbed the majority of these increases, providing a much-needed reprieve for residents from further cost of living pressures.”
Cr Williams said one of the biggest positives of this year’s Budget was that it strengthened Redland City’s financial security.
“Our strong financial position also provides security for our future. We have growing community equity of nearly $2 billion, cash reserves of more than $45 million and the lowest local government debt per household in South East Queensland.
“This makes us the envy of other South East Queensland councils and means residents can be confident we are future-proofing the city and providing the ability to be able to respond to any unplanned future emergencies.”
Highlights of the 2014-15 Budget include:
- A headline rates increase of just 3.48 per cent, one of the lowest in South East Queensland for the third consecutive year.
- A general rate increase of about 80 cents per week for the average residential owner occupied mainland property with a value of $282,000.
- $2.7 million in rates rebates for pensioners, with a full pension discount of $330.
- Capital program $61.9 million
- A net predicted surplus of $10.16 million, including operating and capital revenue.
- An operating deficit at the end of the 2013-14 financial year of about $2 million – the lowest in many years and equating to a very small operating surplus ratio of less than -1 per cent.
- Restricting the average water price increase to 3.3 per cent – despite a 14.27 per cent increase in State Government bulk water charges.
- Maintaining existing assets and focuses on assets renewal rather than asset purchase. Maintaining a manageable level of debt with the lowest Council debt per household in South East Queensland.
See what the Budget means for you with our interactive Budget infographic