Council hands down “responsible” 2021/22 Budget
Lockyer Valley Regional Council has today adopted a “responsible and sustainable” 2021/22 Budget.
Lockyer Valley Mayor, Cr Tanya Milligan said this year’s Budget continued Council’s trend of sound financial management.
“This year’s Budget is about the future and is centred on strengthening the foundations for the sustainability of our region.
“As a result, we have been able to keep the general rate increase to 1.5 per cent for residential owner-occupied properties, which for 99.8 per cent of those residents is an increase of less than $50 a year,” Mayor Milligan said.
In a snapshot, the 2021/2022 Budget provides an operating revenue of $60.29M and $58.31M in operating expenditure, giving Council a predicted operating surplus of $2.07M for the year – its fifth consecutive surplus.
When handing down the Budget today, Mayor Milligan said it was all about being accountable, while also planning for the long-term future of the Lockyer Valley.
“As a Council, we are committed to achieving sound financial management and this year we were able to achieve a credit rating upgrade from the Queensland Treasury Corporation (QTC).
“Like our previous Budget, a focus is on sustainable management of the region’s current assets and ensuring they are maintained and upgraded when necessary.
“We are committed to delivering our core business and delivering a balanced approach between Council’s financial sustainability and community expectations.
“This year’s minimal rate increase is on the back of last year’s rates freeze, which means for the majority of residents an increase of less than 1.5 per cent in the past two years,” Mayor Milligan said.
Mayor Milligan said Council would pay down another $1.66M in debt, reducing the outstanding debt to $18.3M.
“This Budget will further deliver a $22.29M Capital Program, which is achievable thanks to funding assistance from the Australian Government.
“We’ve earmarked $19.3M for infrastructure projects across the region, including more than $8.6M that will target the region’s blackspots and fund the ongoing maintenance and upgrades of our road network.
“We’re also putting the spotlight on community safety and fostering our region’s disaster preparedness and resilience, with $450,000 to see the installation of digital warning signs across the Lockyer Valley, making communication easier in times of disaster,” Mayor Milligan said.
Council has also secured $320,000 in Queensland Government funding to launch the Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) Collection Trial, which will include almost 1000 homes. Alarmingly, there is less than six years’ capacity remaining in the Gatton Landfill and, when that site is full, waste will need to be transported some distance, at greater cost, to external landfills. Organic waste currently makes up half of the waste buried in landfill in Lockyer Valley.
“Managing waste effectively is both a global and local issue and comes at considerable cost to communities, which is why everyone needs to share responsibility.
“Council will introduce programs over the coming years to help our residents better manage their waste, including improved options for resource recovery at our waste facilities,” Mayor Milligan said.
Council has retained its rating concessions for pensioners and for ratepayers who pay their General Rates and Waste and Recycling Charges in full by the due date. The Emergency Preparedness Levy has remained the same, as has the Resilient Rivers Levy and Environment Levy.
“This Budget shows a strong commitment from Councillors to ensure we keep rates as low as possible while finding a balance between community expectations and financial sustainability.
“I would like to thank my fellow Councillors, the Executive Leadership Team and Council staff for their roles in cementing a prosperous future for the Lockyer Valley,” Mayor Milligan said.