5 things under debate at next council meeting
THE future of water and waste will be flushed out at tomorrow’s Gympie Regional Council meeting the State forcing the council to take a closer look at the $400 million asset.
The council is being forced to consider the public benefit of the branch and whether further reform is needed in the name of competitive neutrality.
This would mean prices ensuring costs to deliver the services are recovered.
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Several options are at the council’s hands.
The first – and recommended in a report complied by AEC Group – is for the council to adopt a full cost pricing policy.
Doing this would address a $1.2 million shortfall in the branch’s cost recovery.
It would come with a financial bite, though – revenue would need to rise 8 per cent in the next financial year.
AEC’s report said any price increase for ratepayers could be offset through general rate changes.
It noted the council was well on its way to full cost pricing already thanks to the controversial decision to overhaul the branch in late 2016.
Another option on the table is the creation of a new business unit.
This would need a 7.5 per cent annual price rise in water costs in each of the next five years to cover the required commercial return on assets.
Option three is for the council to simply not apply the competitive neutrality principle altogether.
However it would mean this dance will happen again in 2023.
The decision is not solely in the council’s hands, though.
Councillors are expected to first release the Public Benefit Assessment to community feedback for a fortnight.
Water in the region is joined on tomorrow’s docket by waste.
Councillors are expected to award the contract for the design of the new Monkland waste transfer station to Brisbane-based Tonkin Consulting.
Tonkin’s tender is more than $150,000 cheaper than their competitors.
The transfer station will take over from the Bonnick Rd dump once its lifespan ends in the next few years.
Where the waste will be sent from the station has not been determined, with a super dump at Toolara still a possible answer.
The long awaited COVID-19 discount for ratepayers on payment plans, and grants for community and arts events are among the 18-item strong agenda for the meeting.