Council takes new budget on the road
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.