City rates may go up above CPI

Reports by MIKARLA THURECHT mikarla.thurecht@capnews.com.au

RATES seem set to rise above inflation in Rockhampton this year.

A report from Rockhampton City Council's organisational development officer, Alicia Cutler, shows the council needs to raise rates above the Consumer Price Index to pay off its debts.

Ms Cutler said if rates were lifted by the current CPI rate of 2.6%, the council would only yield $555,000.

She said these extra funds would be quickly swallowed up with $340,000 worth of loan interest costs, $300,000 worth of loan repayments and $260,000 in capital spending on works construction.

"Before even allowing for increased wages costs and new projects, the rate increase has been fully utilised . . . It will be recommended that rates increases should exceed the latest CPI statistic,'' Ms Cutler wrote in the report.

But Mayor Margaret Strelow last night played down suggestions rates may rise, saying it was too early.

She said the council's budget projections were still being collated. "Councillors and officers have just begun the process of working through all our departments' budgets,'' Cr Strelow said. "We have seen a wishlist of capital works. Almost all of theses are worthy projects but of course, we can't afford everything.''

Cr Strelow said the council would consider the projections and would deliver its budget on July 11.

Ms Cutler's report was presented at a special finance committee meeting yesterday.



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