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Rates increase: How the extra money will be spent

NECESSARY RISE: North Burnett Regional Council CEO Mark Pitt explains the rates increase and how it will benefit the region.
NECESSARY RISE: North Burnett Regional Council CEO Mark Pitt explains the rates increase and how it will benefit the region. Adam McCleery

A RATES increase announced in last week's council budget will go towards improving parks and gardens throughout the Burnett, North Burnett Regional Council chief executive officer Mark Pitt said.

Mr Pitt said as a way of continuing the council's operations and as business continued to grow in price, so too did rates, which will increase by 3.9%.

"Council has an obligation to prepare a budget every year and, like with everything, cost of business is going up and that means the rates have to increase,” he said.

"The general rates is our form of raising revenue and this is important so we can continue our operations.”

Mayor Rachel Chambers said in a Facebook post the rate increase was due to the smaller population in the North Burnett region.

"Other councils have a greater ability to make their own money. Many councils actually make money from business such as water. Once again, our schemes, being so geographically spread, and a lack of population makes this not available to us,” she said.

"We are looking into other ways of making our own source of revenue.”

The council also needed to increase its revenue since the amalgamation, which resulted in a loss of almost $4million.

"Over the past five years, the State Government has awarded a substantial amount of road contracts in our region to Roadtek,” CrChambers said.

"In fact, since 2010-11, this has led to a direct impact of $3.8million in lost revenue (2015-16 audited budget), however figures taken from 2016-17 shows an even further $2million decrease to this.”

Parks and Gardens

Mr Pitt said $646,000 would be spent on upgrading parks and gardens within the Burnett region.

"This will improve our liveability,” he said.

"We've engaged six new trainees and have revamped up our staffing in that area.

"Our towns are getting the resources they need,” he said.

"We've got a significant number of parks and gardens and cemeteries and they'll be worked on throughout the year.”

Green Armies

Mr Pitt said he was not aware the Green Armies were still in the Burnett but said it was a Federal Government initiative to assist the long-term unemployed.

"Council has been very supportive of the Green Armies in the past and we'll continue supporting their projects,” he said.

The Green Army is in the region until June 2018.

Recycling

The North Burnett region has struggled with insufficient weekly recycling and recycling was not included in the budget.

Mr Pitt said the cost of recycling was too expensive and it was not commercially viable in small towns.

"The practicality of it in small towns makes it harder across the region. We just won't collect the stuff and put it into landfill. If we recycle something, we recycle it,” he said.

RM Williams Centre

The council held a meeting in Eidsvold on Tuesday regarding the latest news on State Government funding.

Mr Pitt said they had successfully decided upon three things the money would be spent on.

"Some of the grant money will be spent on refitting the current RM Williams Centre,” Mr Pitt said.

"We will also have night show projections which will involve intimate stories displaying the life of RM and the indigenous life.

"The third initiative will be spent on an adventure playground, which will be great for the kids.”

A public meeting will be held in August for those wishing to attend.

Topics:  budget 2017 north burnett north burnett regional council parks and gardens rates increase


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