Budget points to bright future for Toowoomba region

MAYOR'S DESK: It is an exciting time to be part of the Toowoomba region and last Friday the council handed down its budget for the financial year ahead.

The next 12 months will be characterised by responsible spending in order to meet the critical needs of our community.

This is a budget that uses our strong financial position to enhance services to our residents and seize the opportunities before us.

This budget can best be described as fiscally responsible, responsive to the needs of the community and positive about our future.

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Traditionally, local governments were always about the three Rs - rates, rubbish and roads - and even though these still form a major part of our core business, the contemporary business of the council is much, much broader than it ever has been before.

The formation of Toowoomba Regional Council in 2008 ushered in an era of massive change, which is still shaping the way in which our modern, progressive organisation delivers products and services to our community.

Our task, as a local government, is to provide the community's essential services in an economically responsible manner.

For the year ahead, the council has handed down a $495 million budget, with a capital works program of $213 million and an operational expenditure of $282 million.

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Overall we have needed to factor in a 2.78% increase in fees and charges, which equates to the average household experiencing a 3% rise in the general rate.

There will be no increase to water charges.

Some key budget highlights include:

  • $60 million of capital funding for local roads.
  • $54 million to fund water and waste water capital works projects.
  • $18 million allocated to maintain and enhance our parks and open space.
  • $14 million is being spent to complete stage one of the sports precinct in Highfields.
  • $22 million to complete state-of-the-art Greater Toowoomba Waste Management Facility in O'Maras Rd, Charlton.

Our budget process takes about six months to work through but, during the full year, councillors are putting forward priorities for their portfolios to be considered by the council.

I am proud this council has reached a budget process over the past three years that provides an opportunity for all councillors to have a significant input on behalf of their community.

This budget belongs to all councillors and I thank the team for their dedication and commitment to the community.

Treading the line between fiscal responsibility, supporting the community and providing economic stimulus is a significant challenge but I believe we have the balance right - and this budget delivers for all in the Toowoomba region.

For full details visit www.toowoombarc.qld.gov.au/budget.



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