A sensible budget centred on the fundamentals of maintaining the liveability of Noosa and meeting community expectations is how Mayor Tony Wellington describes the $129 million Noosa Council Budget, adopted today.
Cr Wellington said the 2019-2020 budget demonstrated a commitment to delivering vital community infrastructure and maintaining, or in some cases increasing, service levels.
“This council has been disciplined in its approach to how we spend ratepayers’ funds and this budget strikes a balance between keeping rate rises to a minimum and delivering legacy style projects,” the Mayor said.
“More than three quarters of Noosa property owners will experience either no general rate increase or a modest 1.8% increase in the minimum general rate.”
“When waste charges and levies are included, this equates to about an extra 70 cents a week for the average ratepayer.”
Around 6% of property owners will have a decrease in their rates, based on last year.
“We have kept the minimum general rate rise to less than the Local Government Association of Queensland’s Cost Index which is 2%.”
“This is a measure used by Queensland councils to determine the acceptable annual increase required to deliver council services each year, taking into account annual cost increases relevant to local government.”
“Our lower rate increase has been achieved whilst incorporating a 2.5% wage increase for council staff resulting from a new enterprise agreement, increasing service levels, adding new staff positions, and providing another massive $28 million capital works program,” the Mayor said.
The Environment Levy has been increased by $10, but all other levies remain unchanged.
“The increase in the Environment Levy is to help progress the proposed Noosa River Plan with the formation of a dedicated Noosa River Management Unit. The levy will also provide increased support for Land for Wildlife properties as well as Voluntary Conservation Agreements. Together, these land-owner approaches to environmental management have broad community benefit, increasing the total area of the shire that is dedicated to wildlife habitat and expanding connective corridors.”
Cr Wellington said Noosa Council continued to set a benchmark for its environmental initiatives and conservation programs.
A massive $28.4 million Capital Works program is another feature of the budget.
“About $58 of every $100 we spend goes towards either maintaining, replacing or building roads, bridges, playgrounds, pathways and other infrastructure for our community. This year’s capital works spend is again more than twice the size of the average capital works budget of the Noosa Council prior to amalgamation.”
There are 61 capital projects across the Shire this coming financial year.
Many Council service levels will also be increased. “There will be more street sweeping in Cooroy, Pomona, Cooran, Noosaville Industrial area and many residential streets.”
“We are also increasing the slashing of verges from twice to three times a year, which is another added cost, but a great outcome for our residents.”
“This is a big spending budget that meets all of our financial sustainability targets, including a small projected surplus. With increases to resources, it sees Council improving its capacity to sustainably deliver the services, functions and activities that our community expects,” Cr Wellington said.