Rates in­crease: How the ex­tra money will be spent

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS - Philippe Co­querand philippe.co­querand@cnbtimes.com.au

A RATES in­crease an­nounced in last week’s coun­cil bud­get will go to­wards im­prov­ing parks and gar­dens through­out the Bur­nett, North Bur­nett Re­gional Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Mark Pitt said.

Mr Pitt said as a way of con­tin­u­ing the coun­cil’s op­er­a­tions and as busi­ness con­tin­ued to grow in price, so too did rates, which will in­crease by 3.9%.

“Coun­cil has an obli­ga­tion to pre­pare a bud­get ev­ery year and, like with ev­ery­thing, cost of busi­ness is go­ing up and that means the rates have to in­crease,” he said.

“The gen­eral rates is our form of rais­ing rev­enue and this is im­por­tant so we can con­tinue our op­er­a­tions.”

Mayor Rachel Cham­bers said in a Face­book post the rate in­crease was due to the smaller pop­u­la­tion in the North Bur­nett re­gion.

“Other coun­cils have a greater abil­ity to make their own money. Many coun­cils ac­tu­ally make money from busi­ness such as wa­ter. Once again, our schemes, be­ing so ge­o­graph­i­cally spread, and a lack of pop­u­la­tion makes this not avail­able to us,” she said.

“We are look­ing into other ways of mak­ing our own source of rev­enue.”

The coun­cil also needed to in­crease its rev­enue since the amal­ga­ma­tion, which re­sulted in a loss of al­most $4 mil­lion.

“Over the past five years, the State Gov­ern­ment has awarded a sub­stan­tial amount of road con­tracts in our re­gion to Road­tek,” Cr Cham­bers said.

“In fact, since 2010–11, this has led to a di­rect im­pact of $3.8 mil­lion in lost rev­enue (2015–16 au­dited bud­get), how­ever fig­ures taken from 2016–17 shows an even fur­ther $2 mil­lion de­crease to this.”

PARKS AND GAR­DENS

Mr Pitt said $646,000 would be spent on up­grad­ing parks and gar­dens within the Bur­nett re­gion.

“This will im­prove our live­abil­ity,” he said.

“We’ve en­gaged six new trainees and have re­vamped up our staffing in that area.

“Our towns are get­ting the re­sources they need,” he said.

“We’ve got a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of parks and gar­dens and ceme­ter­ies and they’ll be worked on through­out the year.” GREEN ARMIES

Mr Pitt said he was not aware the Green Armies were still in the Bur­nett but said it was a Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment ini­tia­tive to as­sist the long-term un­em­ployed.

“Coun­cil has been very sup­port­ive of the Green Armies in the past and we’ll con­tinue sup­port­ing their projects,” he said.

The Green Army is in the re­gion un­til June 2018. RE­CY­CLING

The North Bur­nett re­gion has strug­gled with in­suf­fi­cient weekly re­cy­cling and re­cy­cling was not in­cluded in the bud­get.

Mr Pitt said the cost of re­cy­cling was too ex­pen­sive and it was not com­mer­cially vi­able in small towns.

“The prac­ti­cal­ity of it in small towns makes it harder across the re­gion. We just won’t col­lect the stuff and put it into land­fill. If we re­cy­cle some­thing, we re­cy­cle it,” he said.

RM WIL­LIAMS CEN­TRE

The coun­cil held a meet­ing in Eidsvold on Tues­day re­gard­ing the lat­est news on State Gov­ern­ment fund­ing.

Mr Pitt said they had suc­cess­fully de­cided upon three things the money would be spent on.

“Some of the grant money will be spent on re­fit­ting the cur­rent RM Wil­liams Cen­tre,” Mr Pitt said.

“We will also have night show pro­jec­tions which will in­volve in­ti­mate sto­ries dis­play­ing the life of RM and the in­dige­nous life.

“The third ini­tia­tive will be spent on an ad­ven­ture play­ground, which will be great for the kids.”

A pub­lic meet­ing will be held in Au­gust for those wish­ing to at­tend.

PHOTO: ADAM MCCLEERY

NEC­ES­SARY RISE: North Bur­nett Re­gional Coun­cil CEO Mark Pitt ex­plains the rates in­crease and how it will ben­e­fit the re­gion.

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