Rates up 28.2% in four years

ALL things considered, yesterday’s budget handed down by Rockhampton Regional Council which included a 3.7% rates rise for a typical (average) homeowner, was an acceptable result for this section of the community.

Following previous rates rises of 9% in 2008, 8% in 2009, and 7.5% in 2010, it would appear the mayor and councillors had a collective eye on the election due next March and this budget being their last chance to leave a significant imprint on voters’ minds.

In a nutshell, the budget means most residential ratepayers will have to find an extra $100 in the new financial year.

Mayor Brad Carter said councillors had heeded community concerns about the rising cost of living and realised ratepayers were not able to afford another big hit.

This case was also pitched by the community before the 7%-plus rises of 2008, 2009 and 2010 and voters will ultimately assess this council’s performance not just on its 2011 innings.

Of course this time around the council was faced with bringing down a new budget with a great deal of uncertainty about its finances in the wake of the floods.

Councillors Bill Ludwig and Glenda Mather highlighted their own reasons for voting against the budget, but the council fortunately decided not to delay its adoption in favour of informing ratepayers what they would be paying in 2011/12.



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