THE Rockhampton Regional Council will be back in the black after de-amalgamation, according to Mayor Margaret Strelow.

For the first time in six years, the council will have an operating surplus in 2013/14. That's good news for ratepayers, with Cr Strelow indicating another "significant correction" to rates was unlikely.

Cr Strelow said there would continue to be rate rises but not on the same scale as the 8% rise in the 2012/13 budget.

That rise and the introduction of the Category 8A rating system (which relates to landlords) were responsible for taking a "huge chunk" out of the deficit. "This is what all the effort was about," Cr Strelow said.

"We opted for a dramatic change in our finances that deliberately set us on a new path. This is really important news and it sets us up financially so we can look ahead with confidence.

"I am absolutely excited. This will allow for a range of initiatives to be announced before Christmas."

Cr Strelow said the surplus would also see the council well placed to start addressing its debt which, at the end of the current financial year, would stand at $167 million.

"Hopefully, by the 2015 financial year, we can begin to pay down that debt," she said. According to the 2012/13 annual report to be tabled at today's general council meeting, the council's total income for the year was $201,937,059.

Rates, levies and utility charges represented about 52%. The council spent $183,522,215 on operational and capital expenses in the 2012/13 year, providing services to the community.

COUNCIL FACTS

Rockhampton Regional Council was formed in March 2008 following the amalgamation of the Rockhampton City, Livingstone Shire, Fitzroy Shire and Mount Morgan Shire councils.

In March 2013, residents voted in favour of the reformation of the Livingstone Shire Council, which has an area of about 11,800 sq m and a population of 33,000.

In November, voters went to the polls to elect the Livingstone Shire Council - a mayor and six councillors.

The new council comes into effect on January 1, 2014.



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