A debt-free Goondiwindi Regional Council handed down a $60million budget on Monday, raising rates by 2.98perent, "half of the current rate of inflation".
"This is a budget that balances the rising cost of doing business with the need to invest in our core services and maintain our thriving communities," GRC Mayor, Cr Lawrence Springborg AM said.
"Once again, Goondiwindi Regional Council will remain debt-free for the 2022-23 financial year - we remain one of the very few Councils in Queensland that is debt-free.
"Despite some real challenges with inflation, and the increasing costs that are outside of our control, the 2022-23 rate increase of 2.98% (after 15% early payment discount), is less than half of the current inflation rate. This minimal rate rise is achieved only through our lean workforce and strong commitment to proudly prioritising our core business like roads, parks and gardens, library and water and sewerage services.
"This budget reflects a lot of major projects like water and sewerage infrastructure upgrades that won't be visible, but are essential to keeping the water flowing for decades to come. An example is the $550,000 being spent in Inglewood to upgrade the main pipe from the treatment plant to the reservoir on Rabbit Hill. This will include the installation of pipes under the Macintyre Brook, replacing the existing pipes in the Brook, to reduce the risk of pipe damage from debris. An additional $285,000 will be spent on improving the water quality in Texas, through automated mixing of treated water.
"With a focus on minimising costs to ratepayers, Council has already secured $24 million in supplementary external funding from the state and federal governments towards essential Council roads, highways, water and community infrastructure projects.
"I am also extremely pleased that this budget reflects a focus on industrial land development, with no cost for applications to reconfigure (sub-divide) industrial land in the region in the coming year.
"That the Goondiwindi Region is one of Queensland's most financially sustainable local governments is no accident: it is simply due to good financial management. Especially for a regional council that does not have the same resources as more populous areas, or the same income streams from industries like mining, our continued sustainability is a credit to the careful and considered stewardship over many years. Now, while we are in a better position than most, we are not immune to rising costs or increasing community expectations: as an example, the same volume of fuel last year is budgeted to cost an additional $175,000 this year. This additional fuel cost equates to almost half of the general rate rise for 2022-23.
The same volume of fuel last year is budgeted to cost an additional $175,000 this year. This additional fuel cost equates to almost half of the general rate rise for 2022-23.- GRC Mayor, Cr Lawrence Sprinborg AM
"It is worth pointing out again that one of the key reasons our Council is able to deliver an incredibly efficient and cost-effective service compared to other local governments in Queensland is that we run an extremely lean operation: ~50 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) indoor staff serve our population of around 10,800 residents, representing only about 33% of Council's workforce. About twice as many Council staff - 67% - are in outdoor roles, giving us one of the highest ratios of outdoor staffing in the state.
"Goondiwindi Regional Council is in an extremely strong position compared to almost every other local government in the state, as confirmed by the Queensland Audit Office, who found our Council to be financially sustainable in all areas of operating surplus, financial liabilities and asset sustainability.
"As a council, we recognise the balancing act that is required of us, and we are willing to challenge the status-quo of long-standing practices to achieve better outcomes for our community. I can assure our residents and ratepayers that your councillors and I are committed to leaving this Council in a strong and sustainable position at the end of our term."
In 2022-23 year, the major areas of expenditure will include:
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