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Investor rates question won’t delay council budget

FRASER Coast Mayor Gerard O'Connell believes there will be no delay in the announcement of the council's budget next month, despite a court decision which could leave the council having to repay ratepayers $380,000.

However, he has remained tight-lipped on any potential rates rise arising from a new budget.

The potentially costly Supreme Court ruling which could trigger a rates payback was handed down after investors challenged the Mackay Regional Council over extra rates charged on non-owner occupied properties.

The court found in favour of the investors, ruling the rating category imposed upon them was an "improper exercise of power".

The ruling meant 19 other councils, including the Fraser Coast council, could be forced to repay hundreds of millions of dollars as those councils also introduced the non-owner occupied rating category.

An appeal of the court decision has been launched by the Queensland Local Government Association and Local Government Minister David Crisafulli intended to introduce amendments to the Local Government Act to allow councils to prepare their 2014/15 budgets with certainty.

Cr O'Connell said, if the council had to repay non-owner occupied ratepayers, the cost would amount to $380,000.

Cr O'Connell said he believed the budget would be announced in late June.

He would not comment on a potential rates rise but said the council would give further information in late September or early October.

Topics:  budget, fraser coast regional council, investors, rates




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