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23 June, 2020

First budget for new MSC

Last week the new Mareeba Shire Council (MSC) handed down their very first budget under the Mayorship on Angela Toppin.

By Phil Brandel

Last week the new Mareeba Shire Council (MSC) handed down their very first budget under the Mayorship of Angela Toppin.

The council which has only been in power for just over two months unanimously passed the new budget at last Wednesday’s council meeting.

Mareeba Shire Mayor Angela Toppin said the balanced budget was financially responsible amid COVID-19.

“We have had to make some difficult decisions, recognising the impact coronavirus has had on our community, while at the same time ensuring long-term financial sustainability,” Cr Toppin said.

“I’m very proud of the budget as it’s my very first budget as Mayor of the MSC, it’s been a difficult budget due to COVID and we have done the best that we can at this time.

“We are conscious that if COVID doesn’t ease, we may have to revisit the document further down. We are very proud that council is maintaining all essential services. “

At a glance, the 20/21 operating budget is $46.9m, and the capital budget is $15.7m. In comparison, the 2019/20 operating budget was $46.2M and the 2019/20 capital budget was $27.7M.

$10.7m has been allocated to Roads and Drainage, $16.9m to water, waste and sewage, $5.5m to community and culture, $3.4m to parks and environment and $2.4 to health and regulatory services.

There were two surprises in the budget with a rates increase of 2.5%, however, this will be offset by a COVID-19 rebate for residential properties and the water access charges has been increased by an average of $27 per residential property per annum.

A council spokesperson said “A COVID-19 rebate will be applied to the next rates notice for residential properties to offset the rates increase. This will be reviewed in six months.”

One of the big-ticket items was $1.5 million dollars for solar initiatives at council facilities across the shire. This includes solar panels on council swimming pools, treatment plants and community hubs.

Mayor Toppin says solar initiatives are something that council wants to encourage and lead by example.

“We are installing more solar panels on council facilities, in order to keep electricity costs down, and that benefits the shire residents. Since installing the initial solar panels on the council chamber the reduced costs for electricity on council has been incredible and instant.”

At the meeting, Mayor Toppin also announced the council’s new credit rating.

“Council’s recent credit rating has been upgraded to sound, with a neutral outlook. This improved rating by the Queensland Treasury Corporation is reflective of the Council’s financial performance, adequate debt serving capacity and sound liquidity levels and instils confidence in the organisation,” Cr Toppin said.

“As we follow council’s long-term financial plan, I am optimistic about the future sustainability of the Shire,”

 

AT A GLANCE:

$16.9m - Water, waste and sewerage

$10.7m - Roads and drainage

$9.1m - Transport maintenance and upgrades

$5.5 - Community and culture

$3.4m - Parks and environment

$2.4m - Health and regulatory services

$1.5m - Solar energy investment

ROADS AND TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE

$3.5M Road maintenance

$2.8M Road renewals and upgrades

$1.3M Reseal program

$917K Bridge upgrades and maintenance

$600K Gravel re-sheet priority roads

PARKS AND ENVIRONMENT

$2.7M Parks, gardens and reserve maintenance

$655K Biodiversity protection

WATER, WASTE AND SEWERAGE

$5.7M Water and wastewater services

$4.6M Water and wastewater renewals and upgrades

$4.5M Waste services

$1.4M Sewer reticulation renewals

COMMUNITY FACILITIES, CULTURE AND LIBRARIES

$1.5M Community facilities and Council buildings

$1.4M Operation and activities for libraries

$859K Provision of aged housing services

$470K Operation and maintenance of swimming pools

$368K Public halls and amenities

$178K Community development and engagement

$173K Community partnerships and events

TOURISM AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

$620K Tourism promotion and economic development

HEALTH AND REGULATORY SERVICES

$1.1M Local Laws

$479K Environmental Health, Building and Plumbing

$418K Urban and regional planning


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