TOUGH TIMES:  Deputy Mayor Jan Chambers believes the 3.5% rate rise was necessary.
TOUGH TIMES: Deputy Mayor Jan Chambers believes the 3.5% rate rise was necessary. Tom Gillespie

Why Maranoa residents will cop a 3.5% rate rise

THE move to increase local government rates by 3.5% was a necessary move to keep the region solvent, according to the Deputy Mayor.

With Maranoa Regional Council placing more emphasis on renewing exsiting funding this year and revenue from sales and interest falling, Cr Jan Chambers said the rate rise was needed to ensure no services were cut.

"We looked at varying amounts but 3.5% was where we arrived at due to where our costs are going and trying to keep pace with that, but also being mindful of the impacts on our community,” she said.

"It's very much a balancing act.

"You can't afford to do the upgrades or renewals if you don't keep pace with revenue.”

While Roma Airport ($1.3 million) and the Saleyards ($65,644) are budgeted to run at a surplus in 2016/17, sales revenue from the Roma Quarry are expected to fall to just $2.5 million in the same year - a fall of $12 million in just three years.

But Cr Chambers said the quarry was still valuable to MRC.

"It's a case of what's happening with the demand - we went through years where there was a lot of oil and gas and flood damage and there was great demand for quarry product and we've seen that come virtually to a halt,” she said.

It's something we're going to use for our own works.

"There's still value in having that asset.”

Fees and charges (airport passenger tax, dog registration, hire fees) are budgeted to go up by 4% to $11.5 million, which will counteract the decline in sales revenue from assets like the quarry.

The council will also pay down $1.56 million in debt and still maintain a small surplus of $56,000.

"We're looking at paying another $1.56 million off our debt this year, no borrowings as yet and looking to being down to just $12.8 million in debt,” Cr Chambers said.

"That's a very financially responsible position for a council.

"I wouldn't say that people will be happy, because in general the cost of living is an impact upon everyone, but as a council we're conscious of those costs and have tried to bring down a budget that keeps a balance between the rising expenditure and falling revenue.”


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