Moreton Bay Region ratepayers can expect a higher rate rise than usual when Council hands down its Budget on June 17, Mayor Peter Flannery says.
Mayor Flannery says the Local Government Act prohibits the release of the amount until the Budget is handed down and adopted.
Councillors have concluded budget briefings and staff are now putting the final touches to the Budget for the 2022-2023 financial year.
Mayor Flannery says the Budget has been formulated against the background of a difficult global market with record inflation and Council has worked hard to balance the challenges of meeting community expectations and ongoing cost pressures.
“I want to assure locals that we will maintain or increase service levels,” Mayor Peter Flannery says.
“We will provide stability for our community and not cut projects or services, however this commitment will come at a cost.
“So, I’m not going to mince my words on this - this year’s rate rise will be higher than in the past.
“I can’t pre-empt the final decision of Council before June 17 but we’re expecting the costs of goods and materials for Council to increase by about 14 per cent this financial year, which is almost two and half times CPI.
“Every household knows the impact of skyrocketing fuel costs right now, which is significant for our vehicles, road crews, and mowing.
“Then there’s asphalt, cement, labour costs, and construction materials to continue our maintenance and construction programs.”
Mayor Flannery says he wants the community to be aware of these challenges and impending rates rise before the Budget is handed because he knows these are difficult economic times.
| “I know the pressure on household budgets right now, we have to weigh up those considerations against all Council’s priorities,” he says. |
“So, I promise Moreton Bay will remain one of the lowest rating Councils in SEQ, and it’s thanks to our strong financial position that we will be able to do this.
“That’s why Moreton Bay could afford one of the strongest COVID response packages in the country, investing more than $50 million into the local economy to keep local jobs and rates as low as possible during that uncertain period (2% in 2020-21 and 3.9% in 2021-22).
“I know other Councils are already cutting infrastructure projects or will have to go beyond their debt limit, that’s not the approach Moreton Bay will be taking.”
Mayor Flannery says all Councillors agreed they needed to ramp-up infrastructure investment to deliver a full, record capital program of works the coming financial year.
“We all agreed that now is not the time to slowdown investment, with our infrastructure desperately needing to keep pace with our growing region,” he says.
“Councillors also want increased maintenance to improve people’s lifestyle, because we’ve received a lot of feedback about potholes and unmowed grass.
“While most of that is weather-related and we’ve already implemented a lot of tech innovations to massively improve these services, where we can improve we will.
“So, I’m proud to say our waste charge is the lowest in SEQ and we still offer free dumping, because we know this is a major point of difference for us in SEQ.
“I also promise that this Budget will see a significant organisational shift, to reprioritise our works program to reflect the feedback you gave us in the feedback from our landmark Moreton Says community survey.
“A whopping 94 per cent of people listed parks and playgrounds as ‘extremely important’, so we will look at how to invest more in these and also activate them more with events and festivals.
“There was also 90 per cent support for stronger environmental protections.
“And we know the need to invest in major road improvements, with 49 per cent of survey respondents saying congestion is the number one concern for them daily.
“We have listened, so this will be a Budget of delivery. Especially for the environment.”
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