Cr Jeff McConnell – Division 2
These are my own personal views. I do not purport to speak on behalf of Council.
The new Council is now 3 months into its 4 year term and we have just passed our first budget. Was it an easy task, no it wasn’t, we had to take into account the need for long term financial sustainability as well as the capability for ratepayers to fund Council Operations in such tough economic times. We were able to, with much robust discussion and compromise, achieve a small rates increase of less than 1%.
Are our rates higher than our neighbouring councils, yes they are. Why are they higher, well we have a population of only 43,000 residents compared to over 1.2 million in Gold Coast, Logan and Ipswich, which also have a combined land area that fits inside the Scenic Rim. The Scenic Rim Council budget is only $90M, with rates coming mostly from 94% residential and rural, and only 6% from commercial and industrial. Our neighbouring councils have a combined budget of over $2.2 Billion with rates coming from approx 50% residential and 50% Commercial and Industrial. The commercial and industrial revenue base is a huge advantage to their having lower residential rates.
But what do we have that they don’t – LIFESTYLE – the Scenic Rim is a semi rural region with most residents living on acreage and not on top of one another as our city cousins do. This is why they come down to the Scenic Rim on weekends to relax, enjoy our hospitality and envy our way of living.
So how do we get our residential and rural rates down to a manageable level. We need to increase our Commercial and Industrial revenue base, and one way is by working with the State Govt to open up the Bromelton Industrial Park at the same time that the new rail line is finished in 2025-26. This will require massive strategic thinking and coordination by the State and Council to ensure that roads, housing and community amenities are all available to sustain this growth. As our commercial and industrial rates revenue rises, only then we can reduce the high rates burden on our ratepayers that mainly fund the operations of Council.
We can only do this by looking at the long term benefits of sticking together in these tough times to achieve our long term goals that ensure we maintain the semi rural lifestyle we all enjoy.
Thought Of The Day
“People will doubt what you say, but they will believe what you do.” – Lewis Cass
I will always be available to talk with Division 2 residents on mobile 0436 327 434 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Facebook – Jeff McConnell Councillor for Division 2 Scenic Rim Regional Council where I will post a weekly update. I am happy to meet with residents should they need a face to face meeting.
You can contact Council on 5540 5111 (save it to your phone) or email email@example.com