Coun­cil takes new bud­get on the road

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

COUN­CIL’s fi­nances and the new wa­ter charg­ing sys­tem were the two main top­ics dis­cussed at the Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil bud­get road­show in Can­non­vale last week.

Last Thurs­day’s event was the se­cond of a se­ries of four road­show events, giv­ing Coun­cil the op­por­tu­nity to ex­plain the cur­rent bud­get to ratepay­ers.

The first event was in Collinsville and at­tracted about 70 peo­ple but only about 25 peo­ple at­tended the Can­non­vale event.

Dur­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion, Coun­cil’s CEO Scott Wa­ters again blamed the for­mer Coun­cil for past fi­nan­cial decisions and said the cur­rent bud­get would fix the fis­cal is­sues that Coun­cil had been faced with.

Mr Wa­ters said in the last fi­nan­cial year, Coun­cil had spent al­most $100 mil­lion on five main projects – Air­lie main street, Can­non­vale and Proser­pine sew­er­age treat­ment plants and the Bowen and Proser­pine wa­ter treat­ment plants.

He said this was a huge amount of money for a Coun­cil of this size to spend.

Coun­cil’s chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer Matthew McGoldrick de­scribed some of the decisions made dur­ing the term of the for­mer coun­cil as “un­for­giv­able”.

He said while the new Can­non­vale sew­er­age treat­ment plant was very im­pres­sive, the ef­fort and dol­lars that went into it were equally so and he ques­tioned the de­ci­sion to build the sew­er­age and wa­ter treat­ment plants.

“Why any­one would do four in one year beg­gars be­lief,” he said.

Mayor Jen­nifer Whit­ney said Mr McGoldrick was very pas­sion­ate about his job and had al­most daily con­tact with the Queens­land Trea­sury of­fice.

“We are un­der the mi­cro­scope but we have turned it around,” she said.

Coun­cil’s di­rec­tor of cor­po­rate ser­vices Gra­ham Jarvis spoke about the changes to the way rates were charged and he ex­plained the two-part tar­iff sys­tem for wa­ter, which he de­scribed as “also a way to en­cour­age peo­ple to con­serve wa­ter”.

“We made sure the rate bur­den was fairly spread be­fore in­creas­ing the rates,” he said.

How­ever, Mr Jarvis said it was a big change and could have been com­mu­ni­cated bet­ter

The third bud­get road­show was held in Proser­pine last night.

AN­SWER­ABLE: Mayor Jen­nifer Whit­ney ad­dress­ing last week's bud­get road­show at Can­non­vale, along­side deputy mayor An­drew Will­cox and coun­cil­lors Kevin Collins, Jan Clif­ford and Dave Clark.

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