$1.2 million budget hike for 'biggest ever' capital works
UPGRADES to decades-old infrastructure is one of the major factors contributing to an $802,000 budget expenditure increase according to Southern Downs mayor Tracy Dobie.
A colossal $1.2 million increase in the cost of materials and services in the coming financial year will wipe out a significant portion of the council's overall spending, according to the draft 2018/19 budget.
"We are doing one of the biggest capital works programs ever undertaken in the Southern Downs,” Cr Dobie said.
"Most of the infrastructure in our region was constructed in the 1950s and very little has been done in the way of maintenance.
"There is so much work to be done just to bring our infrastructure up to a minimum standard.”
The council has forecast a total $36.5 million in capital works over the next financial year.
This includes $3.7 million towards road re-sealing and gravel road re-sheeting, $6.56 million for the construction of a water pipeline between Storm King dam and the Stanthorpe water treatment plant and upgades of the Wallangarra water treatment plant.
But it's not just water that will be looking clearer in the new financial year.
The council has pledged greater transparency in its management of infrastructure by opening every proposal for public consultation.
"I don't think you can get more transparent than that,” Cr Dobie said.
Other budget figures include a $17,000 increase in councillor expenses, a $396,000 reduction in employee costs and the council will also implement an eight per cent increase for fees and charges.