‘Slow road back to normal’: Council’s plans to help
RECOVERING from the COVID-19 pandemic was at the top of the priority list for Maranoa Regional Councillors at the last meeting, as restrictions throughout the shire ease.
Supporting residents and rate payers as the local economy rebuilds will be a priority for the council, mayor Tyson Golder confirmed.
"One of the big things is now there's a deferring of rates if people can show financial hardship, which is a very big thing for our rate payers," he said.
"We are deferring rates for six months and then a payment plan can begin, which can go up to December 2022 if people need that much time to get on top of all their rates payments.
"Some will pay earlier, but if people are struggling, council wanted to give those the flexibility they need to get through COVID-19.
"I think it's a great initiative, everyone is in a different situation."
Council also moved to freeze fees and charges in regards to community safety, subject to the budget process.
"Another COVID-19 initiative we moved was to set new rates at 50 per cent of what they were last year, so that's all dog registration, etc. is half of what it was," Cr Golder said.
"That's taking pressure off pet owners, and another great initiative by us."
Cr Golder said the council was determined to help rate payers and residents make it through this challenging time.
Speaking from a personal capacity, he said he was extremely pleased with how the new council was dealing with the current challenges.
"A big part of our response will be in the budget that will be handed down," he said.
"In my personal opinion, the next thing we have to focus on his how do we get our economy back to growing? I've got a personal desire to do that.
"We not only need to bounce back, but we need to grow as a Maranoa region and be the place for people to want to come and live.
"This is an exciting place for people to come in the future and hopefully live. I think there's plenty of positives about country areas."
Cr Golder said he had been working alongside other outback Queensland mayors to lobby for further easing of restrictions in the COVID-19-free regions.
"I think our pubs have been the worst affected, it won't be until July they're back fully," he said.
"I certainly understand the calls for further restrictions to be eased, but we have to make sure we follow the medical advice. We don't want a false start.
"But, we're on the slow road back to normal."