The Town Hall
The Town Hall

12,000 Gympie region homeowners face 6.5% rate rise

GYMPIE ratepayers will be paying more on their rates next year and the pain could be significant for many.

Under Gympie Regional Council's draft budget to be released today, 51 per cent of the region will have their rates rise 2 per cent in the new financial year.

This equates to less than an extra $1 per week.

For the remaining 12,000 ratepayers, the state's new land valuations mean rates are rising an average of 6.49 per cent.

Of these, more than 10,000 will pay an extra $1-$5 per week.

Gympie Council 2018 Hilary Smerdon, Dan Stewart, Glen Hartwig, Bob Leitch, Mick Curran, Bob Fredman, Mal Gear, Daryl Dodt and Mark McDonald.
Gympie Council Hilary Smerdon, Dan Stewart, Glen Hartwig, Bob Leitch, Mick Curran, Bob Fredman, Mal Gear, Daryl Dodt and Mark McDonald. Renee Albrecht

The rise is above CPI which was at 1.8 per cent for the December 2018 quarter and 1.3 per cent in March this year.

Next year's budget will also run at an operational deficit, a decision staff said was a "responsible” move given the cost of living pressures.

The aim is to return to surplus in the future.

Staff said this rise in costs was due to a "significant” increase in the council's operating budget.

Gympie Council CEO Bernard Smith and Mayor Mick Curran.
Gympie Council CEO Bernard Smith and Mayor Mick Curran. Renee Albrecht

Causes included a $2 million increase in depreciation, higher wages, a doubling of election expenses, higher insurance premiums, a major rise in the cost of running the pound and "significant increase in service levels with regard to public conveniences which Council considers is warranted”.

All up, the operational budget is $99.6 million with a $31.8 million capital works program.

Rates, levies and charges are expected to account for more than 73 per cent of the council's income.

Overall, the budget is forecast to have a $2.1 million net surplus.

Councilor Dan Stewart at the Chambers. Gympie Regional Council
Cr Dan Stewart at a Gympie Regional Council meeting. Renee Albrecht

Roads, bridges and paths are the capital project winners, with $13.28 million to be invested including state and federal funds.

Another $3 million will go to fleet replacement, and $1.5 million for the Gympie Transfer Station.

The draft budget is being released to the public for consultation at today's Town Hall general meeting which starts at 9am.

Mayor's message Page 10, more budget coverage tomorrow.