In handing down the Council’s 2022/23 budget, Mareeba Shire Council Mayor Angela Toppin is confident that the financial plan will result in continued high-levels of service, delivery, confidence and sustainability for the Shire.
“The budget that I bring down today reinforces Council’s long-term financial plan with balanced budgets, fully funded depreciation, and minimal debt, providing consistent service delivery to the community, at a sustainable cost,” Cr Toppin said.
The operating budget, amounting to $50.7 million, covers Council’s day-to-day operations and the maintenance on existing assets.
The capital budget of $36.7 million, covers new works, major refurbishments and reconstruction.
In addition to these works are the projects that span across financial years which will continue this coming year including major works to the water treatment plants and reticulation network. Two significant investments in water infrastructure are the upgrade of the Clear Water Booster Pump Station, costing $3.1 million and the $3.6 million Water Pipe Renewal Program.
“Quality water infrastructure is critical to the future economic strength of our Shire and Council’s $52 million 10-year plan for water assets would not be possible without substantial grants from both commonwealth and state governments,” Cr Toppin said.
The budget also includes a record spend on Parks and Open Spaces in recognition of the community survey conducted in 2020, with $4.6 million earmarked for projects in 2022/23.
“Council is answering calls from the community with the first tranche of projects under the Parks & Open Spaces Action Plan commencing in 22/23,” Cr Toppin explained.
This budget also continues Council’s work to future-proof the transport network with $9.1 million allocated to roads projects, including sealing an additional section on the Ootann Road, made possible with a $2.6 million grant from the federal government.
This budget is based on an increase of 2.5% across most areas, in spite of being developed following the recent review of property valuations by the state government.
“This review of property values was the first in 5 years and caused a significant challenge with wide variations in valuation changes, including some significant increases. However, Council has worked to mitigate this issue and deliver a fair increase to all residents,” Mayor Toppin explained.
“The increase of 2.5% is reflective of Council’s Long-Term Financial Plan and is fair to all residents. It does not reflect the true increase in costs faced by Mareeba Shire Council, which has been significant,” Cr Toppin said.
“Even the National Inflation Rate of 5.1% is lower than the increase in costs which Council met in the last financial year.”
Council is cognisant that these cost challenges are being felt across the community and has minimised the impost on ratepayers.
“As a Council, our vision is for a growing, confident and sustainable Shire so, in the face of these challenges, we will apply the lowest possible rate increase while reviewing services and projects to ensure that existing assets are maintained and our residents and visitors can expect reliable services,” Cr Toppin explained.
“Mareeba Shire Council will continue to take a long-term view to budget planning,” Cr Toppin concluded. “With strong reports received from both the Queensland Audit Office and the Department of Local Government, we know that we are on track for a sustainable future. We are living within our means.”