Moreton Bay Regional Council Budget: Rates to rise

Moreton Bay Regional Council Budget: Rates rise by HHHHH percent

Ratepayers in the Moreton Bay Region face a rates hike as Council grapples with rising costs and supply chain shortages. Council has just handed down its record $816 million Budget for 2022-23.

The minimum general rate raise for owner-occupied houses will be 4.8 per cent, or $0.98 per week, but the average total rate rise for owner-occupied homes will be 5.6 per cent or $1.71 per week.

In handing down the Budget this morning, Mayor Peter Flannery said the council faced a myriad of challenges now and in the coming financial year and needed to ensure it had the resources to “forge ahead”.

“A war in Europe has sent our petrol and power prices soaring. A global pandemic has caused local supply chain shortages. Costs of goods and materials for Council will increase by 14 per cent this year. Our world is more complex than ever,” he said.

“Moreton Bay is not immune… But I’m proud to say that we have also never been better prepared for the challenges ahead. That’s because the people in this room have the courage to make the tough decisions needed to thrive in difficult times.

|“We made the unusual decision to tell our community about this rate rise in advance of today’s Budget, because we know the importance of transparency and trust in government.”|

A key component of the Budget is a record $259 million capital works program, with no projects cut.

Mayor Flannery said Council was refocusing its priorities around what the community wanted with greater investment in the environment, stormwater, waterways and coastal areas and waste management.

“There is an extra 12 per cent being invested into the environment and local parks, because our community told us this is their number one concern,” he said.

“There’s a 22 per cent increase for stormwater infrastructure and management of our waterways and coastal areas.”

Green focus

Council is also increasing its sustainable waste management budget by 4 per cent and there is a plan to provide green bins for residents by late 2025.

“Importantly, we are investing $400,000 to commence a feasibility study for our own Moreton Bay Food Organics and Garden Organics waste management program,” Mayor Flannery says.

“This will be an ambitious and expensive undertaking to build and operate a facility that will process food and garden waste.

“This is about making tough decisions at the right time. This won’t be a trial and we won’t be wasting your money on plastic trinket bins for people’s kitchens. We want to roll out a full-scale program for the entire region upon commencement.”

Read more here

Responding to COVID-19

Mayor Flannery said Council took the decision to increase rates by only 2 per cent in the 2020-21 Budget because “no one knew what the future held”.

“Council immediately set a course for community recovery, injecting more than $50 million into the local economy,” he said.

“We fast-tracked millions of dollars in infrastructure projects thanks to the state and federal governments' additional investment, to keep our local economy humming. We have made some changes to support affordability.

“We introduced a $100 remission for part-pensioners in addition to the $250 remission for full pensioners. This will continue in 2022-23 and supports 26,500 properties owned by pensioners.

“We have maintained rate capping, so regardless of how much your home value increases there is generally an upper limit capped at 9 per cent.”

Capital spending a priority

The 2022-23 Budget includes $259 million in spending on capital works projects including:

* $1.45 million for park upgrades at Cosmos Park, Banksia Beach, and a further $1.1 million to upgrade Brennan Park, Bongaree.

* The Moreton Bay Central Sports Complex in Burpengary will receive $6.5 million over two years to deliver stage two of its soccer facilities - with funding from the Federal Government.

* Road upgrades at Caboolture and Morayfield including at Bellmere Rd, Lynfield Drive, William Berry Drive, and the intersection of Torrens Rd and River Drive.

* In Deception Bay, Council is building a $2.3 million environment centre, providing a $1.4 million overhaul of the local skate park, and upgrading parks and playgrounds.

* In Redcliffe, Council will invest $1.5 million to build a homelessness support hub with funding from the State Government. It has also allocated $2.2 million to restore or rebuild the Suttons Beach Pavilion.

* There will be a progressive upgrade of Old Gympie Rd, with $82.4 million slated over successive projects.

* $30 million will be invested this year to build a bridge over Youngs Crossing. Construction will start in the 2022-23 financial year in partnership with the Federal Government.

* Around Lake Samsonvale, Council will provide more trees, more habitat, and more environment to provide better wildlife linkages through our suburbs and out to the hinterland.

* There will be major work at the South Pine Sports Complex with $16.6 million for new sporting fields, a clubhouse, stormwater drainage, and pathway access at the entrance of the complex.

* $2 million will be invested expanding the soccer facilities at James Drysdale Reserve and another $1.33 million to revamp Albany Creek’s skate park.

* $1.3 million will be invested in streetscaping in Samford, $6 million to fix the intersection of Young Rd and Oakey Flat Rd in Narangba and work will soon be finishing on a new community Hall and playground at Mount Glorious.

* $1.5 million will be spent to improve flood mitigation and drainage at Mathew Cres, Burpengary, and $544,000 to repair and improve the netball courts at Woodford Showgrounds.

Events and festivals

Council is adding 20 free community events to the existing calendar, while retaining signature events like Moreton Bay Food & Wine Festival, Kite Fest, and Jetty-2-Jetty.

“All up, we will deliver in partnership with MBRIT 53 events and festivals right across the region including 43 free events which means there’ll be a celebration somewhere in Moreton Bay almost every week of the year,” Mayor Flannery said.

Read more here

More than $20 million will be invested in libraries, arts and community facilities.

“I know that Healthy Active Moreton is a hit with locals, and I am pleased that the increased funding will continue again this year towards this valuable program,” he said.

“I can confirm we will be upgrading the Albany Creek, Woodford, Bribie Island and Strathpine libraries. We are also going to include a welcome statement from our First Nations people at the entrance to each library, to celebrate the unique languages of our region.

“And events like Anywhere Festival and Park Jam will be back by popular demand.”

Region’s debt

Mayor Flannery said the council’s debt would be “extremely manageable over the coming years”.

“The total assets currently owned by Council on behalf of our communities are valued at about $8 billion, while the debt on these assets is only around $313 million.

“To put this into perspective, this is the equivalent of owning a house today valued at $800,000 and having a mortgage of about $30,000.”

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