Rate rise to lead to a surplus
A RATE increase of 5%, small spending limits and tight belts will help the Southern Downs Regional Council turn this year's $2.1million deficit into a $1.5million surplus by the end of the 2013/2014 financial year.
Southern Downs Mayor Peter Blundell credited the surplus to the tough cost cutting measures undertaken by the council.
"This is a great result for the region in terms of our future sustainability," he said.
The rate rise will see Stanthorpe residents on the minimum rate, with the discount for paying on time, fork out an extra $2.39 a week, which is just over $124 a year.
The rate increase is just slightly higher than last year's rise of 4.95% but Southern Downs Mayor Peter Blundell said the rise in following years would not be as high.
"Future years of the 10-year financial forecast indicate general rate rises of 4%," he said.
"This is in keeping with a determination to restrict rate increases to an acceptable level."
Cr Blundell said the focus of the budget was to control costs and maintain services across the region.
"Council officers have spent a great deal of time reviewing council's past actual spending. Excess monies have been either trimmed from the budget or reallocated," he said.
"This review has allowed for this budget to more closely align with council's needs."
The recent council staffing restructure played a large part in keeping costs down, saving the council $205,000 on last year's budgeted amount.
A total of $210,000 will be saved when it comes to filling company cars, which Cr Blundell said would go towards offsetting the anticipated increase of $304,000 in electricity costs.