Cap­i­tal works the bud­get buster

Warwick Daily News - - News -

UP­GRADES to decades-old in­fra­struc­ture is one of the ma­jor fac­tors con­tribut­ing to an $802,000 bud­get ex­pen­di­ture in­crease, ac­cord­ing to South­ern Downs mayor Tracy Do­bie.

A colos­sal $1.2 mil­lion in­crease in the cost of ma­te­ri­als and ser­vices in the com­ing fi­nan­cial year will wipe out a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of the coun­cil’s over­all spend­ing, ac­cord­ing to the draft 2018/19 bud­get.

“We are do­ing one of the big­gest cap­i­tal works pro­grams ever un­der­taken in the South­ern Downs,” Cr Do­bie said.

“Most of the in­fra­struc­ture in our re­gion was con­structed in the 1950s and very lit­tle has been done in the way of main­te­nance.

“There is so much work to be done just to bring our in­fra­struc­ture up to a min­i­mum stan­dard.”

The coun­cil has fore­cast a to­tal $36.5 mil­lion in cap­i­tal works over the next fi­nan­cial year.

This in­cludes $3.7 mil­lion to­wards road re-seal­ing and gravel road re-sheet­ing, $6.56mil­lion for the con­struc­tion of a wa­ter pipeline be­tween Storm King dam and the Stan­thorpe wa­ter treat­ment plant and up­grades of the Wal­lan­garra wa­ter treat­ment plant.

But it’s not just wa­ter that will be look­ing clearer in the new fi­nan­cial year.

The coun­cil has pledged greater trans­parency in its man­age­ment of in­fra­struc­ture by open­ing ev­ery pro­posal for pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion.

“I don’t think you can get more trans­par­ent than that,” Cr Do­bie said.

Other bud­get fig­ures in­clude a $17,000 in­crease in coun­cil­lor ex­penses, a $396,000 re­duc­tion in em­ployee costs and the coun­cil will also im­ple­ment an eight per cent in­crease for fees and charges.

Photo: Con­trib­uted

IM­MENSE INFRASTRUCUTRE: The new War­wick Wa­ter Treat­ment Plant Clar­i­fier at Glen Rd is one of the ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture up­grades the coun­cil un­der­took this fi­nan­cial year.

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