COUNCIL DELIVERS $87.3 MILLION BUDGET FOR THE SCENIC RIM REGION
Scenic Rim Regional Council adopted its first budget for the new term of Council at a Special Meeting held in Beaudesert today.
Scenic Rim Mayor Greg Christensen said the budget had been formulated against a challenging background of sequential disaster events, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Finding the right balance in the current challenging environment was core to Council's 2020-21 $87.3 million Budget," he said.
"It's always on a fine balance between the conflicting goals of meeting increasing community expectations, ensuring we meet our commitments to sustainable asset renewal, and maintaining financial sustainability as a Council.
"While at the same time we need to mitigate financial impact across all our communities, which was at the core of our deliberations.
"We've given sharp focus to the immediate circumstances across our region, keeping revenue growth from Council general rates and community infrastructure charges to just .89 per cent.
"For those ratepayers in our community who have a residential principal place of residence, on minimum rate, the increase in the general rates and community infrastructure charge equates to $15 per annum or 29 cents per week, and the Rate in the Dollar will reduce by 9.2 per cent from .7975 to .7240.
"If your principal place of residence is on a rural property, the minimum combined general rates and community infrastructure charges will increase by $17 per annum, or 33 cents per week, and the Rate in the Dollar for these properties will reduce 10.5 per cent from .6875 to .6154."
Cr Christensen said the 2020-21 budget was a responsible budget with total expenditure down $11.6 million from last year's $98.9 million.
"Within our fiscally responsible budget, we have allocated $22.43 million to our capital program, which will include five road projects and four bridge replacements which help to drive the regional economy, as well footpath upgrades and ongoing maintenance of facilities across the region," he said.
"We remain committed to fostering vibrant towns and villages as reflected in the shared Community Plan vision for Scenic Rim communities to embrace their uniqueness, heritage values and sense of place."
Works under Council's Vibrant and Active Towns and Villages program in the Boonah Town Centre will continue in the coming months with the project expected to be completed by the end of the calendar year.
The budget also provides $1.5 million for works at Selwyn Street to improve traffic flow as the first stage in the Beaudesert Town Centre Revitalisation Project, which will offer economic and social benefits for the wider Scenic Rim community.
Work will also start work on a business case to look at options for redeveloping Tamborine Mountain's Gallery Walk, so that we can look to create a vibrant precinct with transformed streetscaping in line the natural beauty of the rainforests and village character.
Cr Christensen said the budget also recognised co-investment from the Queensland and Australian governments for a number of projects.
"Grants, both operational and capital, in 2020-21 will collectively deliver $17.66 million to our region," he said.
"While some of these grants come off the back of very challenging disasters, they enable us to deliver programs and projects that reduce the burden on our ratepayer revenue and our ratepayers, and I am optimistic that we will enjoy further support as this year progresses.
"We will continue our own investment in grants programs to provide benefits to communities across our region.
"With the region's key industries of tourism and agriculture depending on maintaining an ecological balance, our $103,000 Environmental Grants Program, in conjunction with our Biodiversity Strategy, will help to support this outcome.
"We will be launching a new-look Community Grants Program, which intends to combine sport and active recreation grants with community grants to provide a wider range of funding opportunities for not-for-profit organisations across the region.
"This allocation of $295,000 of funding recognises the value in providing financial and in-kind assistance to local organisations, which rely heavily on enthusiastic volunteers who are making a difference in their communities."
Over the coming year Council will continue its strong focus on delivering on the commitments of the Scenic Rim Regional Prosperity Strategy 2020-2025 to support creating valuable jobs for our local people.
"Against our challenging backdrop, supporting economic growth and job creation is more critical than ever for our region and for our people," Cr Christensen said.
"We know there are those across our communities who are hurting, and who have lost jobs and businesses, and we are working hard to support those people.
"Partnering for prosperity with our key industries, local businesses and other levels of government is key to supporting our region's economic recovery during this challenging time, and we have a key role to facilitate economic growth.
"However, it's important that we work collectively and collaboratively as one Scenic Rim to generate prosperity for our region.
"Again I reiterate, this is a responsible budget that continues to build on our core commitments of sustainable service delivery, our strategic focus on renewing our key public spaces, and providing strong support for economic and employment growth and diversity.
"In our first budget for the first term of this Council, we have sought to minimise our revenue, soften and share the impact and contain our expenditure."
Pictured above: Scenic Rim Mayor Greg Christensen brings down the 2020-21 budget
Pictured above: Scenic Rim Mayor Greg Christensen, Councillors and the Executive Team at the Special Budget Meeting