Noosa Council today adopted its $128M 2018/2019 budget.
It includes a $29M capital works program on top of the $26M required to simply maintain assets such as roads, bridges, parks and buildings.
Big-ticket capital program commitments include completion of both the Park Road Boardwalk and the Noosaville Library refurbishment, $2.5M to upgrade various bridges, $4.2M for road resealing and $1.25M to progress Cooroy’s iconic hinterland playground.
Various improvements will be made to community halls, and $925,000 will go to community groups via Council's grants program.
Mayor Tony Wellington says the minimum general rate will rise by 1.9%, in line with CPI and the Local Government Association of Queensland’s Cost Index, which measures the annual increase required to deliver council services each year.
"Council has kept the rise minimal, even though Noosa land values rose by an average of 11% in the past year," the Mayor said. "In fact, total land value in the Shire jumped from $8 billion to $8.9 billion.
“We’ve made every effort to minimise the effect of valuation increases on our ratepayers’ hip pockets. For the 66% of ratepayers on the minimum general rate, the 1.9% increase amounts to around $21, before the early payment discount is applied.
“This CPI-based increase will help Council meet the rising cost of doing business so that we continue to provide a high level of service to the community.”
Levies remain unchanged. However, with regards to the Tourism Levy, properties let for short-stay accommodation will experience different rates in the dollar depending on whether they are home-hosted or else entire properties being let. Properties that are principle places of residence, and thus simply renting out spare bedrooms, will pay one third of the levy as compared with equivalent properties with a similar land value that are being let in their entirety. Whole apartments or houses let for short-stay accommodation will pay the full levy.”
The waste charge will rise by $15 annually to help cover the increased cost of recycling.
“This increase is simply unavoidable," the Mayor said. "All councils are grappling with higher recycling costs in the wake of China’s ban on foreign recyclables.
"Ratepayers with higher than average land values will welcome the change to our early payment discount. Council has scrapped the $200 cap on the discount, so everyone can enjoy the full 5% discount benefit.
“With the discount applied, ratepayers on the minimum general rate will see an overall annual increase of just under $35 or 67 cents per week. This includes the CPI rate increase and the slightly higher waste charge.
"We have done everything we can to keep rate rises to the bare minimum and also to cap our levies for the upcoming financial year. We did that because we knew there would be an increase in waste charges, and also because of the significant land valuation increases Noosa has experienced.
“This budget will ensure we continue to provide a high level of service with minimal financial impact on a large number of our ratepayers, as well as investing in new initiatives and infrastructure projects,” the Mayor said.