Lowest rates increase for Coast since amalgamation
THE general rate will rise by 1% this financial year when the Fraser Coast Regional Council hands down its budget in Hervey Bay today.
While finance councillor Rolf Light would not officially confirm the rates increase yesterday, several sources who have seen the budget, confirmed the low increase which equates to about $12 annually.
Cr Light did not divulge the finer budget details, but reaffirmed the pledge that most ratepayers would be the winners.
"It's really good news - it's going to be a great day for the region, great for employment, great for everyone," he said.
The 1% rise is the lowest of any major Queensland council in 2016.
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The Gold Coast had a rates increase of 1.6% while Bundaberg delivered a 3.5% increase and Gympie handed down a 2.1% rise.
The second instalment of the council's allocated $10 million towards the Fraser Coast sports precinct remains in the budget.
Councillors will allocate $5 million this financial year to the project after quarantining $5 million in the previous financial year.
The Chronicle understands the council's infrastructure budget was where the savings were found, with about $20 million pulled from that area over the next few years.
In his campaign to become mayor Chris Loft said he would keep rates rises on hold.
"I'm convinced (it is possible to freeze rates), I know it - (council) wastage will be shown," he said in January this year.
Cr Loft did not respond when the Chronicle sought comment yesterday.
Urban Development Institute of Australia Fraser Coast chairman Glen Winney would not comment on the details of the budget, but spoke about the importance of maintaining spending on projects.
"It would be unfortunate to see any sort of infrastructure pulled," he said.
"We need to keep pace with infrastructure and we need to be investing in infrastructure which creates local jobs."
Mr Winney said if projects were not started now it would cost more in the future.
"Somewhere down the track somebody is going to have to catch up," he said.
It is not yet clear what projects will not go ahead.
Last year the Fraser Coast Regional Council delivered a budget with a rates increase of 2.5%.
For the latest news on the budget visit frasercoastchronicle.com.au.