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Shire hands down “balanced” budget

Mareeba Shire Council Councillors and Mayor Tom Gilmore were all smiles as they handed down what they referred to as a "balanced budget" last Wednesday.

THE Mareeba Shire Council handed down their 2019/20 budget at last Wednesday’s council meeting, and it is one being labelled as “balanced” by MSC Mayor Tom Gilmore.

The budget consists of a $27.7 million capital works program, all in the aim of providing Mareeba with a long-term vision according to Cr Gilmore.

“I would hope the community would understand the complexities, thought process and hard work that goes into establishing a budget,” Cr Gilmore said.

“This budget follows a tradition, with an unwavering view to ensuring the financial future of the Shire.”

An aspect of the budget which could be contentious within the Shire is the 2.5 per cent increase applied to general rates, utilities and service charges; and the additional 0.5 per cent to contribute to rebuilding Council reserves.

“We base our increases on the need to ensure that we maintain a level of service,” Cr Gilmore said.

“If you start deficit budgets and don’t control your spending, then ultimately you’re on a slippery slope to nowhere in my view.

“So given that everything we do as a council is aimed at ensuring we have a balanced budget, one of the critical components of a local government budget is the for funding of depreciation and that’s what we’re doing.”

“So we’re fully funding our depreciation, building our reserves and balancing our budget.”

Cr Gilmore thanked both the Federal and State Governments for their continued contributions to the budget through annual financial assistance grants and project-specific grants which allow for the continuing development of the Shire infrastructure.

Key figures in Mareeba Shire Council budget:
 $27.7 million capital works program
 $12.8 million invested in capital transport infrastructure
 $3.5 million to maintain and improve parks and gardens
 $2 million to support health and regulatory services
 Close to $1 million invested in tourism promotion and economic development activities for the Shire
 $19 million allocated to bolster water, waste and sewerage services
 $1.3 million sewer relining program to maintain ageing infrastructure and the upgrade of Kuranda’s Barang Street pump station
 $3 million in capital funding to maintain community facilities
 Through State Government funding, Council has set aside $500,000 for the upgrade of the Mareeba Animal Refuge

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