The primary focus of Council’s 2020-21 budget is on consolidation and responsible long-term financial sustainability, while striving to provide the best possible levels of service delivery for the community.

Over the past three months, Councillors have been working closely with officers and Council management to undertake a series of thirteen (13) budget workshops, deliberating every facet of Council’s financial position and key priorities.

Mayor Andy Ireland said this has included improving the alignment with the goals and strategies of the Livingstone Community Plan: Towards 2050 and undertaking an important community engagement exercise on budget priorities.

“Given the challenges our community has faced over the last seven years, including the impacts of several major disaster events and the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, these factors have made it more important than ever to ensure that Council’s 2020-21 budget is responsible and maintains adequate revenue to fund expenditure that meets the needs of our community and also supports them through these difficult times,” Mayor Ireland said.

“Council has remained mindful of the challenges the community have had to face with bushfires, coronavirus pandemic and other increases in the general cost of living, which has been reflected in Council’s efforts to keep rates and charges increases to a minimum.

“The effect of the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME) recently issued valuations will apply from 1 July, 2020. This will mean that although Council is collecting slightly more in rates and utilities revenue, the impact on individual ratepayers will be influenced by the change in valuation.

“This is in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) figure for March 2020 at 2.0%.

“This year’s budget has also continued to provide rates relief to our seniors and other pensioners on fixed incomes through the maximum pensioner rates rebate of $300.

“Council’s 2020-21 total budget of $136.8 million will see $41.5million invested into capital works, delivering the infrastructure needed to facilitate future growth and economic development for our Shire, while maintaining the existing asset base. Of that amount, $22.5 million has been contributed by external funding from State and Federal sources.

“There will be no new borrowings in this year’s budget with borrowings reducing by $5.3 million this financial year. The ten year forecast will see that overall debt progressively reduce to just $11.9 million by 2030.

“Capital expenditure of approximately $301.4 million over the forecast period is predominately funded by operational surpluses, grants funding from State and Commonwealth governments, capital contributions from property developments and one borrowing of $2.0 million in year 2024-25 for the expansion of the Yeppoon Landfill.

“The long-term financial forecast has been developed to assist Council in adopting a budget within a prudent, longer term financial framework. The key objective of the forecast is to achieve and maintain financial sustainability, whilst still achieving the community’s goals in line with the Livingstone Community Plan: Towards 2050 and expressed in the Corporate Plan 2030.

“The organisation has worked extremely hard to deliver a strong and comprehensive budget that allows our Shire to build on its growth of becoming a resilient community prepared for future economic, social, environmental and infrastructure challenges, while ensuring it retains its unique character and thrives into the future.

“I would like to commend the combined effort and hard work of the entire Council organisation, Councillors and the wider Livingstone community for your ongoing support and providing valuable input and feedback to assist Council in the delivery of this year’s budget.”

BUDGET AT A GLANCE Some significant highlights of the budget: •Average residential property rate increase of 1.69% •Removal of the non-owner occupied rating categories •Maintaining $300 maximum pensioner rebate •Continuing commitment to ongoing community grant programme of $400,000 •$41.5 million investment in existing and new infrastructure •No new loan borrowings with a $5.3 million reduction in loans continuing the focus on debt reduction •Healthy cash balance forecast •No reduction in current service levels for all Council services except where directed by the national cabinet and State Government as a result of COVID-19

2020-21 Capital Works Program of $41.5 million •Roads, Drainage and Bridges – $20.7 million •Sewerage – $7.5 million •Land and site improvements – $4.9 million •Water – $3 million •Buildings and Facilities – $2.9 million •Plant and Equipment – $2.5 million

Major projects

• $5.1 million towards the upgrade of Stanage Bay Road • $3.0 million on the installation of solar panels and battery storage at the Yeppoon Sewerage Treatment Plant Upgrade • $2.5 million to continue the upgrade of the Yeppoon Water Recycling System • $2.3 million to the upgrade of Greenlakes Road • $2.0 million towards footpaths and cyclepaths across the Shire • $1.9 million on the construction of a resource recovery area at the Yeppoon Landfill • $1.6 million to construct new art galleries at Emu Park and extend the existing Mill Gallery in Yeppoon • $1.4 million on renewal of unsealed gravel roads • $1.2 million to complete the Taranganba State School bus set down area • $1.0 million on Stage 2 of the Adelaide Park Road Upgrade

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