Southern Downs Regional Council chamber Warwick
Southern Downs Regional Council chamber Warwick Sophie Lester

Ratepayers’ pockets to hurt with new budget

RATEPAYERS will see another 4% rate rise under the Southern Downs Regional Council 2016/17 draft budget.

The draft budget was approved yesterday, and is forecast to lower council debt by a further $2million and produce a small operating surplus.

Almost $23.4 million has been included for the capital works program which features several major projects to be undertaken across the region.

This is the first year the draft budget will be made available for community viewing and feedback.

It will be on exhibition for 28 days to seek feedback and comment from the community.

Mayor Tracy Dobie said exhibiting the budget, holding information sessions, and requesting feedback from residents before it is adopted was a great way for the community to take ownership of the budget.

"All councillors have been thoroughly briefed so that they can be brought up to speed on the draft budget considerations and I now look forward to hearing feedback from the community," Cr Dobie.

"While everyone within the council team has been urged to carefully review spending, the need to provide the appropriate level of services expected by the community has also been considered."

The draft budget is consistent with the Long Term Financial Forecast and recognises the shortfalls in funding from the Federal and State governments, as well as the need for the council to maintain the renewal of infrastructure and the continued delivery of quality services, Cr Dobie said.

Evening budget information sessions, from 6pm, we be held at Warwick Town Hall on Tuesday, May 3; Allora Community Hall on Thursday, May 12; and Killarney Memorial Aged Care on Thursday, May 19.

The draft budget and feedback forms are available from sdrc.qld.gov.au, for the consultation period open until Sunday, May 29.