Redland City Council has adopted a $327 million budget for 2021-22 that focusses on caring for and improving vital community assets while keeping rates rises to a minimum.
The budget, which matches last year’s record spend, includes a $70 million-plus capital investment in the city that features key inter-generational projects to help Redlands Coast’s continued recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayor Karen Williams said the budget was a responsible and back-to-basics approach to meeting residents’ immediate needs while also ensuring their future aspirations could be realised.
“This budget will support our continued recovery from the challenges of COVID-19 by underpinning local employment through significant investment in the type of projects and infrastructure that will help to grow our economy, support jobs and further improve the lifestyle that residents enjoy,” Cr Williams said.
“Councillors have been mindful of the need for a firm focus on asset management and taking care of what we already have, while acknowledging the opportunities that can come from significant inter-generational projects such as the Birkdale Community Precinct and Redlands Coast Sports and Recreation Precinct.
“We are doing this while maintaining a strong balance sheet despite the multi-million-dollar hit from COVID and increased State Government bulk water charges, ensuring the increase in general rates is kept to an average 1.7 per cent – or about 44 cents a week for a typical category 1a, owner-occupied property, excluding separate charges, utilities and State Government charges.
“We will continue to spend locally wherever appropriate to help stimulate the economy and provide local jobs.”
Cr Williams said the projected $70 million capital budget was heavily targeted at maintaining and improving lifestyle assets.
“Developing our open spaces and sports fields, along with improving facilities in our parks, is front and foremost,” she said.
“This includes advancing projects such as the Birkdale Community Precinct and the Sport and Recreation Precinct.
“Both are defining catalyst projects for this city that we have committed to in our Corporate Plan and which will bring benefits well into the future.
“We will look to take advantage of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s expectation that record low interest rates will continue and, where appropriate, borrow for economy-boosting projects such as these, while maintaining our cash balances above borrowing levels.
“In the meantime, $3.5 million has been allocated to progress the Redlands Coast Sport and Recreation Precinct project at Heinemann Road, Mount Cotton and more than $1 million to fund the next stage of the exciting Birkdale Community Precinct.
“There is also $3 million for the continued redevelopment of Redland Bay’s Weinam Creek transport hub, which will become a real focal point for southern Redlands Coast.
“Our program of enhancing our outdoors assets continues, with another $7 million for local parks and streetscapes, taking the spend in the past two years to around $20 million.”
Cr Williams said $25 million would be directed to road and transport networks.
“This includes $10.8 million to continue the vital Wellington Street upgrade and another $2 million for green sealing Southern Moreton Bay Island roads,” she said.
Council has also restructured the way it funds environmental management with a new Environment and Coastal Management Separate Charge replacing the Environment Separate Charge to help cover the cost of caring for the city’s 335km of coastline and other waterfront.
“This recognises the broader responsibilities that we have as a coastal city,” Cr Williams said.
“For less than $3 a week, the charge will help ensure we keep Redlands Coast naturally wonderful by supporting initiatives such as shoreline erosion management and our Coastal Hazard Adaptation Strategy, as well as continuing our vital environmental programs.”
Cr Williams said increases in water, waste, utility and other charges reflected the increased costs faced by Council in providing the essential services, including major sewerage and waste water treatment works.
“We need to spend $13 million this financial year on essential water, waste and wastewater projects alone to ensure we maintain our high standard of service delivery,” Cr Williams said.
“The bottom line hasn’t been helped by yet another increase in the State Government’s bulk water price, which has gone up another 3.5 per cent after years of big rises to have more than doubled since 2012, and increases in areas such as the cost or recycling.
“At the same time councils have a legislative requirement that pricing for these essential services is established by considering the full cost of a commercial business.
“However, we have still been able to provide total pensioner rates and utilities rebates of almost $3.5 million, with rates rebates at $335 a year for a full pensioner and $167.50 for a part-pensioner.
“In the meantime, Council will be stepping up its efforts to attract further funding from the State and Federal governments to take pressure off ratepayers.”
The 2021-22 budget at a glance:
- $327 million investment in Redlands Coast, matching last year’s investment
- An increase in general rates revenue of 1.7 per cent, or about 44 cents a week, for a typical category 1a, owner-occupied property, excluding separate charges, utilities and State Government charges
- Small budgeted operating surplus
- Capital expenditure of more than $70 million
- Total pensioner rebates of almost $3.5 million, with rates rebates of $335 a year for a full pensioner or $167.50 for a part-pensioner.
- A new annual Environment and Coastal Management Separate Charge of $148.92 (replacing the previous Environment Management Separate Charge) to also cover coastal management.
Capital expenditure program at a glance:
- $25 million for transport, roads and traffic projects
- $13 million for water, waste and wastewater projects
- $8 million for other capital works projects, including $2 million for land acquisitions
- $8 million for marine and foreshore projects, including canal and breakwater works
- $8 million for infrastructure projects such as transport, buildings and stormwater
- $7 million for parks, open space and conservation
- $ 1 million for community and cultural development
Visit our website at redland.qld.gov.au/budget for more budget information.