Touch of green in the Rockhampton Regional Council budget
MARGARET Strelow and her council team are ready for a Backyard Budget Blitz.
The Rockhampton Region Mayor yesterday released the 2014/15 draft budget, announcing a uniform rate rise of 3.6%. That will cost the average ratepayer an extra $1.65 a week.
Cr Strelow confirmed the council would continue with the controversial Category 8A rating, which applies to non-owner occupiers.
But she said it was time to pay back the people of the region who had endured the pain of last year's budget.
"The budget importantly includes many small wins that will make a big difference, as well as allowing our community to have a little bit of fun in enjoying the advantages of our region and climate."
Among the big-ticket items are two ambitious public park projects.
Cedric Archer Park will receive a $1.2million upgrade and development over the next two budgets, becoming a park and family recreation area for the growing Gracemere community.
A total of $1.4million will be spent in the next two budgets to transform Kershaw Gardens into "Rockhampton's big backyard".
Cr Strelow said the $235million budget confirmed the region's direction.
Other community benefits include free green waste disposal at landfill sites and a reduction in pool entry prices to $2. The council will continue its investment in the Gracemere Industrial Area with a $5.1million commitment.
Community budget wins:
- Inclusion of $150,000 for the inaugural Rockhampton River Festival
- Seed funding for the Mt Morgan Music Festival
- Additional $200,000 for regional promotions
- $150,000 for additional cleaning of streets
- Free green waste disposal at landfill sites
- Pool entry reduced to $2
- $20,000 to establish a youth forum
The key highlights of the budget:
- Rate increase of 3.6%
- Operational surplus of $4.6million
- Capital program of $82.6million
- Development incentives for future growth of $1million
- Destination playground at Kershaw Gardens and Cedric Archer Park
- $3million more for road resurfacing
- Continued investment of $5.1million in the Gracemere Industrial Area