Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker said the 2020-21 financial plan was a budget for extraordinary times. Picture: Daryl Wright
Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker said the 2020-21 financial plan was a budget for extraordinary times. Picture: Daryl Wright

Rates freeze for families, as mega mines hit in budget

FAMILIES, small business, and farmers can breath a sigh of relief as Isaac Regional Council announced a rate freeze for the next 12 months.

The 2020-21 budget, which was adopted unanimously by councillors today, locked in the general rates and waste and sewage charges for the majority of domestic ratepayers.

Mayor Anne Baker said it was a budget for extraordinary times.

"The COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the world has impacted every family in Isaac," Mayor Baker said.

"This is a time for innovative, responsive and compassionate leadership.

"Those qualities are reflected in this budget."

Only high-volume water rates would see an increase, with water increasing to $2.10 per kilolitre for usage over 75 Kls.

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The council's water infrastructure price path would also result in price changes at the tap, Cr Baker said.

She said while council water revenues would not increase, the projects planned meant some districts would see price reductions and others would see charges increase.

Mega mining companies and other big industries would foot the bill for the council's frozen revenues, with a general rates increase for large businesses in Isaac.

"For big business, the rates rise will be 2.5 per cent, close to previously foreshadowed rates increases and only marginally above the national CPI for March 2020 of 2.2 per cent," Cr Baker said.

"Those same businesses that have large residential property portfolios will, however, benefit substantially from the zero per cent increase for those properties."

Moving out of the pandemic, Cr Baker said council had committed to keeping increases to general rates for domestic ratepayers at no more than 2 per cent a year under its long-term financial forecast.

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"The bottom line is that council has worked hard to achieve a budget that is sustainable and responsible, taking into account current economic conditions, including the current COVID-19 pandemic and recession.," she said.

Cr Baker said the budget had a "frugal" approach to the next financial year, with expenditure set to drop by 4 per cent for purchasing external materials and services.

A total of $54.9 million would be splashed out on major projects, Cr Baker said.

The budget would maintain infrastructure and economic activity with capital works spending remaining on track, she said.

"Council's fiscal position is independently assessed by the Queensland Audit Office and the Queensland Treasury Corporation, and we continue to achieve sound financial sustainability."

Budget highlights - Major works spending

$28.3 million for roads and drainage

$5.9 million for water

$4.1 million for wastewater

$5.2 million for waste management

$5.8 million for Council properties, plant, fleet and workshops

$708,000 for services and support

$1.7 million for parks and recreation

$3.2 million for community facilities.