Douglas Shire Council today endorsed a $50 million operating budget and a $16.047 million capital works program in the 2021/22 Annual Budget.
Across the next 12 months, Council will spend $19.045 million on materials and services, providing more opportunities for local contractors and suppliers.
Local business are encouraged to register at Vendor Panel to get notifications of council quotes and tenders.
Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr said his Council’s second budget maintained a focus on the essentials, with a few eye-catching projects to generate excitement in the community.
“Council is continuing to get on with the job of investing in critical infrastructure and providing valued community projects like new playgrounds and recreational areas,” he said.
“We are keeping our focus on improving our water network through a $3.73 million investment in water quality and reticulation, while $8.06 million will be spent on essential civil works such as roads, footpaths, bridges and drains.
“This includes a $1 million investment by Council to install trunk infrastructure such as culverts, water mains and a sewerage pipes at the Craiglie Residential Estate to help stimulate more land sales and get more houses built in our region.”
Council estimates about $524,000 in pensioner and other rate rebates will delivered during this period.
In order to offer the required level of service to ratepayers, along with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Council’s financial position is expected to improve to a $2.3 million operating deficit.
Following an independent review of its differential rating categories structure, Council has been able to maintain the minimum general rate increase to 2.8% across the board, better than the 3.3% originally forecasted.
Meanwhile, about 36% of people living in units, known as Residential Building Units, will see a reduction in their rates bill.
Mayor Kerr said the new rate categories achieved a more equitable distribution of rates closer in line with community expectations.
“There will be winners and losers in these new categories, but the playing field is certainly becoming more even and further rate model reviewing will be done next year to improve the fairness and balance of rateable properties,” he said.
“Under our new categories, people who live locally in their house or unit have a fairer assessment of their bills than ever before.”
Mayor Kerr said he was looking forward to getting the public involved in a number of exciting projects such as the Mossman Pool and Caravan Park design, Rex Smeal Park playground upgrade and Port Douglas Aquatic Precinct.
“Our staff have already started some great work behind the scenes and we look forward to releasing more details about these exciting projects in coming months,” he said.
“We are taking a staged approach which requires careful planning, robust consultation and smart investment.”