Mayor defends rates hike ahead of meeting

SOME Fraser Coast residents will pay about 3% more on their rates bill if the council's budget is adopted at a meeting in Maryborough on Wednesday morning.

Sewerage and rates will rise and a $75 infrastructure levy will be implemented if councillors endorse it.

Residential Category 2 is the most common rate category on the Fraser Coast.

The general minimum rate, which will affect most homeowners will rise by 3%, or a minimum of $35.

The council will introduce an infrastructure levy, with $75 contributing to future projects for the region.

But Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O'Connell said some people may already be paying the $75 through other charges.

"It will vary from category to category," Cr O'Connell said.

He disagreed that people would be paying about $141 more on their rate bill.

"I don't think it will be anywhere near that," he said.

He said some people may have already paid part of the new $75 through other charges.

"It's not $75 extra - it's actually isolating it," he said.

"Come September/October - we will be in a far better more accurate position to say what the increase was per rateable property."

Residential sewerage costs will also rise by $31 to $726.

Cr O'Connell said it was a "challenging exercise" but it was a "very affordable" budget.

"We need to look at what our capital works are 10 years out," he said.

He also noted the rapid decrease in funds available after the cuts in the State and Federal Government's budgets.

"We've lost millions of dollars in State and Federal Government funding," he said.

Small businesses will be hit a $36 rate increase.

Residents with a land valuation of less than $50,000 will be slugged with a 10.2% increase after the council ditched the Category 1 rating system.

The budget

  • Category 2 rates may rise by a minimum of $35
  • An infrastructure levy of $75 will be implemented. Some people are already paying this and won't see a change
  • Sewage charges may rise to $729


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