June 24, 2019
Most South Burnett ratepayers can expect to see an increase of about $2 per week in their rates notices this year, but some rural ratepayers could face rises of up to 30 per cent after the Council handed down its 2019-20 Budget at a special meeting on Monday.
As forecast by southburnett.com.au on June 5, rates will rise by an average 1.9 per cent overall this year, the lowest increase since the Council was formed in 2008.
Water access charges will rise by 4 per cent; water consumption charges by 1.6 per cent; sewerage charges by 6 per cent; domestic refuse collection costs by 2.5 per cent; and the Waste Management Levy by 6 per cent.
But there’ll be no changes to the Community Rescue and Rural Fire levies, which will remain at $4 and $25 per year, respectively.
Overall, the increases are expected to add about $108 per annum – $2.07 per week – to the average residential rates notice, and slightly less for those connected to the Proston Rural Water Supply Scheme.
However, rural ratepayers who were hit hard by last year’s decision to fold the Road Levy into the general rate, will see bigger rises if their property values rose sharply in the latest bi-annual property valuations.
Some could face rates increases of up to 30 per cent.
Businesses will take a hit as well, with commercial refuse collection charges rising 29 per cent (from $188 to $243 per year) as the State Government’s Waste Levy begins to bite.
Commercial operators will also face fees to dispose of their wastes at Council landfills from July 1.
And five quarries which now have to make a contribution to the upkeep of their haulage routes will face a collective slug of $119,331 this year.
Rates for wind farms generating more than 200MW will rise by 50 per cent (from $160,000 to $240,000 per annum) – but all wind and solar farm categories have also risen.
The rises mean the proponents of the mooted Australian Energy Wind Farm project at Mannueum and the Terrain Solar Farm near Kingaroy will have to factor in added costs if their projects go ahead.
However, rate rises on the Tarong Power Stations and Meandu Mine – which are already in the region’s top tier of ratepayers – are much lower at about 2 per cent.
Council will retain its annual maximum $200 discount for pensioners and its 10 per cent discount for early rate payments.
Councillors also voted to adopt a Financial Hardship Policy at Monday’s meeting.
The new policy will allow staff to assist ratepayers who are willing to pay their rates but are unable to do so due to serious financial hardship, eg. drought.
It will allow eligible ratepayers to avoid penalty interest payments and retain their discount as they work to remedy their situation.