FREIGHT HUB STORY PAGE 3 WINS BUD­GET

Find out what else coun­cil will be spend­ing money on this year

Western Times - - FRONT PAGE - Molly Hancock Molly.Hancock@west­ern­starnews.com

THE Mur­weh Shire Coun­cil hands down its 2018-19 bud­get to­day, with the Mor­ven Freight Hub and Charleville Air­port se­cu­rity the big-ticket items in the $29 mil­lion doc­u­ment.

Mayor An­nie Lis­ton said de­spite the cur­rent dif­fi­cult time be­tween drought and eco­nomic down­turn, this year’s bud­get was slightly up from last year’s amended bud­get of $25 mil­lion.

“There are some great projects in the wings and if there was more money avail­able we would be able to de­liver more to the Mur­weh Shire,” Cr Lis­ton said.

Mur­weh Shire Coun­cil an­nounced $4.1 mil­lion will be al­lo­cated to the Mor­ven Freight Hub and a fur­ther $1.8 mil­lion will go into up­grades for the Charleville Air­port, in­clud­ing se­cu­rity.

Mur­weh Shire CEO Neil Pol­glase said the Freight Hub would be a big ben­e­fit for the shire.

“The hub will be com­pleted this fi­nan­cial year and we are cur­rently wait­ing for de­signs to be fi­nalised. The coun­cil is keen to com­mence con­struc­tion by late Oc­to­ber or early Novem­ber this year.

“It is a de­vel­op­ment the coun­cil will utilise as an eco­nomic drive for the re­gion and hope­fully it will draw more fam­i­lies to Mor­ven and will help their econ­omy,” Mr Pol­glase said.

De­spite the eco­nomic ben­e­fits set for the shire, Cr Lis­ton said the bud­get had been dif­fi­cult.

“The ex­tent of changes in prop­erty val­u­a­tions due to a re­cent reval­u­a­tion and the need to weigh up the dif­fer­ent ser­vice po­ten­tial be­tween our ru­ral and ur­ban rate base has been dif­fi­cult.”

As a re­sult, rates have in­creased by 2 per cent for gen­eral rates and wa­ter in all three town­ships and ad­di­tion­ally in sew­er­age for Au­gathella and Charleville.

“Ur­ban and ru­ral rates have been ad­justed to re­flect the change in val­u­a­tions as a con­se­quence due to the reval­u­a­tion,” Cr Lis­ton said.

Mr Pol­glase said there was also an in­crease in garbage ser­vices.

“The garbage ser­vice has in­creased larger than 2 per cent to cover the cost of this ser­vice and as an off­set to the pen­sion­ers in those towns we have in­creased the pen­sioner sub­sidy from $340 to $360 to ac­com­mo­date the in­crease in ser­vices.”

PHOTO: TAHLIA DOWNS

BUD­GET TIME: The Charleville Air­port has re­ceived $1.8 mil­lion in the 2018-19 lo­cal bud­get, in­clud­ing for se­cu­rity.

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