Livingstone budget 'delivers' says Ludwig
LIVINGSTONE Shire Mayor Bill Ludwig officially hands down his 15th budget today - on face value one with no surprises and one he's already received a lot of positive feedback about.
But don't be fooled into the assumption today's budget meeting at Livingstone Shire headquarters will be all about pats on the back.
"Look, we (councillors) don't always see eye-to-eye on things, and that could again be the case (today) in certain areas,” Cr Ludwig said.
"But at the end of the day we (as a Shire) wouldn't be in the sound and sustainable financial position that we are now without the great team effort from councillors and the whole organisation, which really lifted in 2014.”
Cr Ludwig was referring to de-amalgamation in 2014, where Livingstone Shire ratepayers were required to take on $81.2 million of debt which included $76.3 million accumulated by Rockhampton Regional Council.
"While we were very pleased to regain our independence, we were dealt a pretty crook hand and started with more debt than we should have had, given Livingstone only had $29 million debt in 2008,” he said.
"But we had to take that on board, and we got on with the job.
"In the interim we got hit by Cyclone Marcia and about three other major declared events including that major flash-flooding of Yeppoon.
"But our focus was always on rebuilding the economy from the six years of lost opportunity when we amalgamated, the GFC (Global Financial Crisis) and the downturn in the mining industry.”
Last week Cr Ludwig revealed the "nuts and bolts” elements of the 2019-20 budget which he said had delivered for the Shire through a focus on consolidation, responsible long-term financial management and importantly, minimal rises in rates and charges.
"It took us six years, but we're very close to CPI (Consumer Price Index) with those increases,” he reinforced yesterday when referencing the 1.5% rise in general rates across most rating categories, and an average increase of 2.3% across utilities, road levies and other charges.
"And the most positive thing for us (since last week) has been the feedback from the private sector in relation to investment.
"That has come about because of the opportunities we have created through the delivery of $275 million worth of projects, including the Yeppoon Foreshore re-development, since 2014.”