Douglas Shire Council will deliver another record capital works program valued at almost $20 million in 2017/18 and remains on track to achieve a budget surplus within two years.
Mayor Julia Leu today handed down the 2017/18 Budget which marks Douglas Shire Council’s third consecutive record investment in capital works while maintaining a tight rein on costs.
Major capital works investments over the next 12 months includes more than $10.6 million for water treatment infrastructure including the construction of the new Port Douglas reservoir ($8.4 million), almost $3.2 million for civil works (including $1.2 million for road reseal program) and around $2 million for sewerage upgrades.
Capital works projects scheduled for the new financial year include the completion of the spectacular Flagstaff Hill Walking Trail ($260,000), an upgrade of the Diwan Sound Shell and cricket club shed ($180,000) and a renewal of George Davis Park in Mossman ($50,000).
Master Plans for the Mossman Pool Precinct, the proposed Fishermen’s Precinct on the Port Douglas Waterfront as well as Front St and Macrossan St Streetscapes will help reinvigorate our major public spaces.
Mayor Julia Leu said significant investments in water and sewerage infrastructure in particular were required to improve the financial and environmental sustainability of our communities.
“Due to underinvestment in our water and sewerage infrastructure prior to the establishment of the new Douglas Shire Council in 2014 this Council has had to bite the bullet and significantly invest in these assets,” Mayor Leu said.
“This investment will greatly benefit our communities in future years as our more efficient and effective operations will not only bring about operational savings, but enable Council to significantly improve environmental outcomes for our communities.
“We are the only local government in the world responsible for protecting two World Heritage-listed areas – the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest – and we intend to become world leaders in preserving our spectacular natural environment which in turn benefits our communities economically.
“I’m very excited by the capital works priorities we have identified for the next 12 months and look forward to working with our communities including our very accomplished staff and local contractors to continue building for the future.”
Mayor Leu said the 3.9 per cent average increase for general rates and sewerage utility charges enabled Council to invest in essential infrastructure while remaining on track to generate a budget surplus in the 2019/20 financial year.
“The average Residential 1 Category weekly rates increase has been restricted to an additional $2.03 per week which provides Council with the revenue required to fund our significant capital works investments and maintain and improve services for our communities,” Mayor Leu said.
“Financial sustainability is this Council’s top priority so future generations can enjoy the benefits of a strong and capable Douglas Shire and I’m very proud to say we are well on the way to a budget surplus in the next two years.”