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Cassowary Coast budget media releases
July 21 2011
Click here for the Budget Meeting Minutes
Click here for the rest of the Budget documents.
Cassowary Coast Regional Council’s 2011 budget has been brought down with an emphasis on financial responsibility while minimising the impact on ratepayers.
This year’s rates rise is lower than previous years – a 3.8 per cent general rise that recognises the difficult circumstances faced throughout the region. The rise also recognises the community’s service expectations, increasing costs and the need for disciplined financial management.
“We are acutely aware that our community is once again faced with rising costs of living, at a time when we are all still recovering from one of the biggest cyclones to cross the coast,’’ Mayor Bill Shannon said.
“Our budget has been handed down after much scrutiny and review of costs. The result is a budget that reflects the times we are living in, both in terms of the modest rates rise and our ever-increasing costs which range from electricity and insurance to materials, government charges and debt repayment.
He said financial management, asset replacement and cyclone recovery had been focuses.
“This budget marks the completion of essential infrastructure projects including the Jubilee Bridge, the Innisfail sewerage treatment plant and Tully sewerage projects. It also moves forward with planning for the Cardwell sewerage scheme,’’ Cr Shannon said.
“Some of our biggest ageing infrastructure issues, and our most difficult decisions will now be behind us. The benefits will be there for the future.’’
The $70.178 million capital works program, which is smaller than last year, is part of a balanced, rather than deficit, budget.
Cr Shannon said Cyclone Yasi had significantly impacted on Council’s operations in asset reconstruction, and the budget had needed to absorb insurance premium increases and operational costs not met through disaster funding arrangements.
This year’s budget finalises the post-amalgamation process of combining rating systems – a State Government requirement. Separate roads, waste management and environmental levies have been replaced with an across-the-board transport infrastructure levy and environmental management levy.
“The overall increase in rates and charges is approximately 3.94 per cent,’’ Cr Shannon said.
“This increase will not be uniform. For example, the general rate levy will be slightly lower for the primary production category. Annual land valuations and the change for some from unimproved land values to site values also cause individual increases and decreases.’’
He said the pensioner discount and early payment discount would remain.
Highlights of the 2011-12 Budget
Big ticket items:
- $47.956 million on cyclone/flood repair and restoration works (approved under the State and Federal Government’s Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements)
- $22.945 million to complete Innisfail’s new sewerage treatment plant (state subsidy and loan borrowings)
- $20.975 million on roads, bridges and pathways (repair, maintenance and improvement
- $2 million for the proposed Cardwell sewerage scheme’s design and its initial construction (state subsidy and loan borrowings)
- $1.6 million for Stage 2 of the Tully sewerage upgrade project
- $3.124 million for marine facilities ($2.8M on Flying Fish Point rockwall reconstruction)
- $2.828 million on waste disposal activities in the north and south
Smaller items (new):
- $100,000 for a generator for the Tully Civic Centre (an additional $350,000 for replacement of part of the roof (insurance) and office reconfiguration)
- $230,000 on Tully and Innisfail aerodrome upgrades (50:50 State Government grant
- $160,000 on a filter system to improve water quality from Nyletta Rural Water Intake
- $100,000 for Goondi Bend and Castor Park sporting complex upgrades
- $155,000 for recreational space upgrades (includes Tom Johnston Park, Bulgun and the Bingil Bay day use area) and a study for Taifalos Park, Kurrimine Beach
Budget a boost for essential infrastructure
Council will continue its commitment to improving the region’s sewerage and water schemes in this year’s budget.
A total of $11.82 million will be spent this financial year on improving the community’s water supply and network, while $29 million will go towards sewerage treatment plants and schemes throughout the region.
The bulk of the water budget - $10.23 million – will be spent on completing the Innisfail water treatment plant upgrade works.
Council has set aside $310,000 to design and build a new water intake at Bulgun Creek near Tully.
Another $250,000 has been allocated to Fenby Gap reservoir improvements near Mission Beach and $160,000 will be spent on a new filter system to improve the water quality from the Nyletta Rural Intake near Silkwood.
Other highlights include:
• $265,000 to upgrade water and reticulation mains in the northern water supply
• $130,000 to replace water services and renew water meters in the northern water supply
• $100,000 for a new connection from the Innisfail water treatment plant to a Palmerston Highway main
• $100,000 for flow meters between the Innisfail water treatment plant and Belvedere and Mourilyan.
The bulk of the water budget has been carried over from Council’s previous budget.
In the sewerage budget, $22.945 million will be spent on completing the new Innisfail sewerage treatment plant, funded through a state subsidy and loan borrowings.
Two million dollars has been put aside for design and initial construction work on the proposed Cardwell sewerage scheme.
Another $1.6 million has been committed to the second stage of the Tully sewerage scheme work.
Money has also been allocated to:
• Innisfail sewerage scheme ($455,000) and Tully sewerage scheme ($408,000) manhole and mains renewals
• Innisfail ($920,000) and Tully ($200,000) sewerage pump station upgrades
• Generator improvements at Mission Beach pump stations ($300,000)
• Innisfail sewerage reticulation upgrades ($260,000).
In addition, $20.975 million will be spent on roads, bridges and pathways across the Cassowary Coast region.
“It will be lovely to have these things behind us,” Mayor Bill Shannon said of the water and sewerage budget allocations.
“We are spending a lot of money on things that people need but do not see like they do a new building.
“Investment in the region’s water and sewerage schemes was also a big part of the 2010 budget.
“It is crucial for providing the services the region needs and services that will enable future growth of the region.’’
Combined charges for Cassowary Coast region
Separate charges for the south and north of the region have been combined in the 2011 budget to meet the State Government’s post-amalgamation requirements, the year after general rates were brought into line across the Cassowary Coast region.
Council has replaced the northern road levy, the northern waste management levy and southern environment levy with a transport infrastructure levy and an environmental management levy for the whole region.
The $150 former road levy has become a $97 transport infrastructure levy. All money raised will be spent on:
• roads & associated infrastructure
• kerb & channelling
• road signage & line markings
• footpaths & bikeways
• bridges & culverts
• causeways & floodways
• safety fencing
• bus shelters
• public transport infrastructure
• street lighting
• streetscape works
The $109.20 former environmental levy and the former $171.50 waste management levy have been replaced with a $147.30 environmental management levy for the whole region. All money raised will be spent on:
• waste management including waste transport and disposal and landfill management
• planning and environmental services including development of a new all-of-region town planning scheme
• natural resource management including pest management and foreshore management
• environmental protection operations
Council to build Crossan Rd with the help of residents - special charge for Crossan Road Construction Project
Council will build Crossan Rd at Midgenoo to provide all-weather access for its residents.
Currently unformed, Crossan Rd will become a bitumen road this financial year.
Council will contribute $25,000 and is seeking the balance from Crossan Rd landowners through a special charge. The road, just north of Tully, is estimated to cost $154,000. A levy of $1000 a year will apply for 10 years for 18 Crossan Rd residents.
Crossan Road allotments are in an historic subdivision relating to the town of Midgenoo. They were developed decades ago without the usual infrastructure.
Residents have made representations to Council about the lack of a properly designed road.
Council will build Crossan Road and part of an unnamed road to serve land owners in the area.
The project will involve earthworks, gravel base pavement, a bitumen seal and road signage.
Mayor Bill Shannon said the road’s construction would improve service delivery in the area, as well as amenity and property valuations.
“Council considers it appropriate that landowners benefiting from this road contribute to the cost so the expense does not become an impost on all ratepayers,’’ Cr Shannon said.
“The landowners will directly benefit, in that lots which were typically low priced because of the access issue should increase in value once the sealed all-weather road has been built.’’
Click here for the Mayor's Budget Address