The Charters Towers Regional Council is geographically very large with a small ratepayer base. As a Council, we are tasked to do a lot with less. We are responsible for the financial management of our communities, and this is reflected in this year’s budget.
Many of our significant investments will provide a solid foundation for future growth and to harmonise the long overdue amalgamation of the Shire and City Councils.
Operational costs that were committed to during amalgamation, but weren’t addressed or budgeted for until now, will be incorporated into this year’s budget. This includes the new Planning Scheme and Local Government Infrastructure Plan (LGIP) which will cater for the economic development of our region.
We understand the economic realities for our region and the potential impact to our ratepayers, residents and businesses. Our key Budget priority is to ensure sustainability and viability for our region. As a Council and a community, we need to change to secure our long-term future.
Changes include reducing the 136 rates categories down to 23 categories. This will provide transparency and simplification to the rates categories.
To keep up with the operational costs and to be sustainable, rates will have an average increase of 3.69% across all rates and charges for 2018/2019. Although there is an increase, our rates still align to neighbouring councils.
Residents on the Allocation Tariff will have their water allocation reduced from the current 800KL per annum to 750KL per annum. This reduction is aimed at more responsible consumption levels for households and is aimed to ease daily demand on Council’s water treatment plant. This reduction will contribute to savings in the cost of water treatment. Every 1,000,000L of water saved will provide a saving of $1500 in treatment costs across the region.
To deliver future growth, our key new initiatives include:
- The Water Treatment Plant upgrades to secure our region’s water supply and to support growth. Council will use savings, funds levied from ratepayers some years ago and Australian Government grants to fund this long overdue upgrade. Council will save approximately $4.5m in interest over 20 years by not relying on borrowed funds to complete the project.
- Smart Water Meters to provide residents and Council with the tools to monitor water usage. This can be used to identify and address water leaks which will conserve our precious resource and provide savings to water treatment costs.
- Smart Cities initiative will increase Council's network resilience during disasters while providing a reliable and fast internet connection. Visitors and the community will also benefit from the free WiFi hotspots. The initiative includes the installation of more security cameras for community safety.
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software to allow our organisation to be more efficient and to manage our services.
- The new Planning Scheme which will describe council’s future development direction of our region. The Planning Scheme will focus on land use, development, infrastructure and valuable features of our area. It will identify land uses and set the standards that development must meet.
- Local Government Infrastructure Plan (LGIP) which establishes infrastructure necessary to support population and employment growth, including transport, water and wastewater, parks and land for community facilities.
The implementation of these long-term developments will ensure our region is ready for future growth. We are committed to doing our best to serve our communities, not only for us today, but for generations to come.
This is our region, our future.
Cr Liz Schmidt | Mayor
The Adopted Budget 2018-2019 papers are available by clicking the following link: 2018-2019 Budget