BUDGET DELIVERED: Councillors voted unanimously  in favour of the 2018 Mayoral Budget. (From left) Corporate services general manager Scott Peut, CEO Ross Musgrove, Mayor Paul McVeigh and Cr Donna Ashurst.
BUDGET DELIVERED: Councillors voted unanimously in favour of the 2018 Mayoral Budget. (From left) Corporate services general manager Scott Peut, CEO Ross Musgrove, Mayor Paul McVeigh and Cr Donna Ashurst. Michael Doyle

Western Downs residents face rates rise

WESTERN Downs ratepayers will fork out up to $43 extra a year, after Wednesday's budget.

In a relatively uncomplicated budget, the general rates and utilities charges will increase by 1.5 per cent in the next year.

This will average out to roughly a $35-$43 increase according to the mayor, who will be hoping to excite ratepayers with heavy investment into projects aimed to improve liveability.

In his announcement on Wednesday, Paul McVeigh said the increase is less than the national inflation rate, making it a "fair" rise.

"This budget has been built on a solid foundation of the continuing tight control of our expenditure," Cr McVeigh said.

"We are achieving this and as a result have been able to contain the rates and utilities charge increases."

Residents in rural properties will have their pocket hit a little harder having to pay an extra $54 a year, on average, according to the budget.

The council is pinning its hopes of winning public support through its funding of events and projects.

The region's signature events, including the Tara Camel Festival, Dalby Delicious and Delightful and Chinchilla Melon Festival, are all set benefit with council funding.

Mileswill be the big winner out of the budget, with 10 projects, including road upgrades, announced to receive funding.

A massive reduction in the council debt has allowed for the funding of multiple projects around the region, according to finance portfolio councillor Ian Rasmussen.

The council debt stands at $5.5 million, down from $62 million in 2015.

Cr Rasmussen said the council was focusing on securing the region's future.

"We are thinking outside the box and the results speak for themselves," he said.

"We have more funds to allocate to important projects and assets that future-proof our communities."

Roads are again the largest expenditure with council investing $49.5million.

Large expenditure has also been placed into recreation spaces, with $7.88million being spent on parks and other public spaces.


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