AFTER years of discrepancies in the rates between local towns, North Burnett Regional Council has brought everyone into line on all but one vital charge.
Fees for water supply and cleansing services are now standard throughout the shire after the 2014/15 council budget was handed down on Tuesday.
Sewerage schemes are expected to follow suit next year.
Smoothing out these differences is helping to “gel the shire together as a community”, Deputy Mayor Faye Whelan said.
“Monto was paying the highest utility rates after amalgamation and we have brought every other town up to almost that same level now,” she said.
The budget handed down a base rate rise of 3%.
Mayor Don Waugh said this was the fairest budget since amalgamation.
A $4.1 MILLION roads maintenance pool offered in the 2014/15 budget will be hotly contested by councillors hoping to get works finished in their areas.
“The budget is certainly sparse, but what we will be hoping for in Mundubbera is money for road maintenance,” Mundubbera councillor Faye Whelan said. “We need to repair the missing links that were damaged but were not (included in) the flood recovery maintenance.
“Landholders want to see potholes filled on bitumen roads and more gravel put on gravel roads.”
Mayor Don Waugh said the tough economic climate, flood recovery spending and higher government funding withdrawals meant there would be a 3% base rate rise this year.
“(The budget) allows little leeway to do any extra, it only allows us to maintain what we have,” he said.
Cr Whelan said the council understood the community was suffering. “We hope residents will see we have tried to be very responsible with this budget.
“We can’t make up the money we won’t get from the Federal Government this year, but we don’t want that to burden ratepayers.”
Cr Jo Dowling will also be hoping for a piece of the roads maintenance funding pie.
“We are looking forward to the widening of the corner at Cordelia St and Rifle Range Rd, as well as the replacement of Guyatts Bridge,” she said.
Sealing the remaining section of the Gayndah-Mundubbera Rd, and the landing strip at Gayndah airport are also highly anticipated, she said.
The establishment of a centralised council call centre in the old administration centre in Monto is expected to create jobs.
“Developing this will take between three to six months, and it will make (the council) operate more efficiently,” Cr Paul Lobegeir said.
A skate park approval for Mt Perry has Cr John Bowen pleased.
“A sewerage upgrade for the Mt Perry caravan park, the Mungy Bridge replacement and a bitumen seal on Long hole Rd will all be good for the town,” he said.
In Biggenden, Cr Lofty Wendt wanted more funding for culverts on roads, but was pleased there would be an awning at the aged care units.