SAVINGS: South Burnett Regional Council is looking at ways to save money.
SAVINGS: South Burnett Regional Council is looking at ways to save money. Michael Nolan

Council plans cuts to help repair roads

SOUTH Burnett Regional Council will reduce the rates and charges concessions it gives to community groups in an effort to free up more money for road repairs.

Over the next two budget years the council will save a total of $117,285.

Community groups will still have access to the community grant program, hall hire fee remission and some discounts on general rate, environmental levy, waste management levy, community rescue levy, road levy and state fire levy.

Mayor Keith Campbell said the impacted groups had been notified.

"Councillors now consider that this practice needs to be reviewed so that support is reduced and groups make a contribution towards costs that are currently being paid for by the rest of the ratepayers, for example water, waste water and waste collection," he said.

The council estimates it will cost about $10 million to clear the backlog of problems on our network of unsealed rural roads within the next couple of years.

This figure excludes the work needed for bitumen roads, which has not been assessed yet.

"A number of operational changes to reduce expenditure have been made in recent years, culminating in a reduction of 15 staff over the last nine months, which will provide savings of approximately $1 million in the upcoming 2018-19 budget," Cr Campbell said.

"The reality is that further savings still need to be found if we are to improve on the current level of service provided on our road network."

To save more the council is looking to sell unneeded assets.

"Councillors are entrusted to manage the business of South Burnett Regional Council in a responsible, fair and equitable manner," Cr Campbell said.

"Supporting community organisations to the current level is commendable if you can afford it.

"However when it's technically 'giving away' ratepayers' money at the expense of denying ratepayers roads they would be happy to live with, then the dilemma becomes problematic.

"The road problems can only be fixed by providing more money in the maintenance budget to get its assets to an appropriate level and keep them there."