June 18th 2013
Council approves amendments to budget
A free pre-cyclone dumping weekend and nett savings of around $340,000 are key amendments to the city budget approved by the Townsville City Council yesterday.
The changes to the budget tabled by Mayor Cr Jenny Hill last month will reduce the general rates rise from 3.9% to 3.7%.
A majority of councillors voted for the amendments which include:
Removing $576,000 in funding for citywide hard waste collection and cutting $8 a year from the waste services charge;
* Introducing three-day pre-cyclone clean-up with free access to landfills at a cost of $165,000 to be funded from council’s general budget;
*Increasing the number of dump vouchers from six to seven with cost to be funded in next year’s budget;
*removing $500,000 in increased funding for mowing and weeding in parks;
*cutting $25,000 in funding for Townsville Enterprise Ltd lobbying campaign for a new sports stadium, entertainment and convention centre;
*$200,000 target for increased revenue from dog registrations and fines
*Increased surplus from $721,000 to $1.05 million
Utilities charges for water and sewerage in the Mayor’s proposed budget will remain unchanged.
Overall rates and charges with all utilities – water, sewerage and waste and recycling – for a property with a typical valuation of $161,000 and a fixed water allocation will increase 4.9% or $2.93 a week in comparison to $3.15 in the budget proposed by the Mayor.
All other aspects of the budget will remain unchanged with no new borrowings, and a $19 million reduction of the debt to free up interest payments to fund front line services.
The budget’s $180 million capital works program was at the same level as last year and focused on key infrastructure to support growth and the city’s lifestyle.
Big financial hits on the budget this year included a $5 million increase in depreciation, $1.8 million increase in electricity and insurance costs, $1 million in lost State funding, lower council revenue growth, and a $5 million payment over two years to the Port of Townsville as a contribution to the Cruise Ship Terminal.
The formal budget documents will be presented at a Special Council meeting on June 28 for adoption.