Moreton Bay Regional Council's budget has allocations for new projects, but new charges and rates increases too.
New infrastructure projects is one of the selling points of the Moreton Bay Regional Council budget, although ratepayers have been hit with a new charge to help pay for it.
Mayor Allan Sutherland said more than $220 million would be spent to maintain, improve and replace local infrastructure and public facilities during the coming year.
However, ratepayers will be slugged $52 per property for an annual Regional Infrastructure Special Charge, to help cover the maintenance of roads, footpaths, parks and stormwater drains.
Cr Sutherland said the new charge, part of the budget released on 30 June, would help Council “fund and fast-track works in neighbourhoods across the region”.
“The new charge… makes sure funding is locked in to address priorities that really matter to mums and dads, workers and other residents,” he said.
“We’ve been listening intently to our community and residents have told us they want to see a bigger focus on the basics.
“The expectation is for more funding to be allocated to provide and improve the facilities they rely on and use everyday.”
Cr Sutherland said Council also had to fund “significant community projects that have been on the works list for decades”.
He said during 2012-13 around $131 million would be spent on transport infrastructure, including roads and footpaths, an increase of 25 per cent.
Spending on parks, sport and recreation will rise nine per cent, to $59 million, while $11 million will go towards stormwater and drainage infrastructure, an increase in spending of 80 per cent.
“Two years of extreme wet weather has also taken a huge toll on the region’s infrastructure, adding to our list of priority projects and making planned works all the more difficult,” Cr Sutherland said.
Rates for the average owner-occupier household will increase by $74 dollars this year.
The 6.5 per cent rise is greater than rates and charges increases for Brisbane (up 4.5 per cent) and Logan (5.6 per cent).
Ratepayers Action Group Moreton Bay President Dennis Austen believes there are “more negatives with the release of this budget than positives”.
“It is interesting that these new levies seem to flaunt the notion that the amalgamations were meant to save ratepayers money,” Mr Austen said.
“In this climate where the State Government is slashing costs, why is Council expanding their income?
“There are many people already struggling, particularly those on fixed incomes, so Council need to tighten their belts and increase their efficiency.”
The Mayor said costs associated with the Federal Government’s carbon tax had been factored into the budget.