WITH storms hanging over Gladstone, few members of the public turned up to witness the handing down of this year's $258.7 million council budget.
Overall the council reduced its operating expenses by $1.84 million and it's expected the council will reduce its debt by about $100 million over the next 10 years.
Despite fluctuations in property valuations, the average residential general rate fell by 0.72%, which means 25% or 5475 households will receive a rate reduction or see rates remain steady.
But 71% or 15,493 households will have an increase of up to 2.5% on their rate charges.
There will also be a rise in the cost of water access charges of $10 across the board.
Mayor Matt Burnett said the difficulty with this year's budget was making sure all of the region received a piece of the pie regardless of the reduction in operating expenses.
Some of the big-ticket items in the budget included:
- $5.5 million for road resealing
- $19.5 million for water and sewerage assets replacements
- $1.5 million for upgrades to Harvey Rd
- $1.05 million for the Central Queensland Driver Education Facility at Benaraby
- $700,000 for the development of a pump track at Memorial Park at Gladstone; and
- $300,000 for erosion control at Wild Cattle Creek at Tannum Sands.
There's also $779,000 to go towards community and school events at the Gladstone Entertainment Convention Centre, and
- $1.1 million secured from the State Government for the water treatment plant at Miriam Vale; and
- $100,000 for a youth festival event likely to be held at Tannum Sands.
The council has also allocated $100,000 for a new playground and shade structure at Yarwun, $215,000 for a cycle lane on Glenlyon St and $800,000 for work on Tablelands Rd at Calliope.
"We've made savings in some areas and we've been able to spend in other areas [but] we're not stepping away from our basic services of roads, rates and rubbish," Cr Burnett said.
"We made sure our road network has not been overlooked."
He said this budget was only the beginning and he would continue to lobby both levels of government for more funding.
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