South Burnett Mayor Keith Campbell said the 2018/19 budget sets the council of a sustainable footing.
South Burnett Mayor Keith Campbell said the 2018/19 budget sets the council of a sustainable footing. Michael Nolan

Every ratepayer will contribute to our roads

COMPLAINTS have kept coming in for South Burnett Regional Council since it announced the road levy would be rolled into general rates.

The council said during its meeting on Wednesday August 15, the publicity surrounding the rates suggesting rural primary production was the only category impacted by the roll-in was not accurate.

Mayor Keith Campbell said during his economic development portfolio report, all rating categories above a certain unimproved property valuation would notice some increase to their rates.

The changes to the way the road levy is treated apply to all rating categories, not just rural primary production.

"No one is being discriminated against, despite the fact that some ratepayers will have a sizeable rating increase,” he said.

Rural primary production ratepayers can amalgamate multiple parcels of land, and receive one charge for all levies or charges on their rate notice.

Rural property owners can receive one rate notice, for example, covering up to 13 properties, previously only paid one $200 annual road levy.

In comparison, an investor who owns 10 urban residential properties which are rented out, would pay $2000 in total per year, $200 per property.

Every ratepayer will contribute to the money for road expenditure, in relative to the unimproved value of their property.

Urban ratepayers also contribute to the cost of rural roads, within proportion to their unimproved property valuations.

It was evident by the constant complaints over the years regarding the road's poor conditions, the road levy in itself raised insufficient money to maintain road repairs, Cr Campbell said.

Through a condition assessment of the roads, the Council have verified there is $10 million to $15 million deficit in funds to correct the situation of the roads, which is why they chose to put the road levy into the general rates.

"Based on the information, it is clear we did not provide enough money to resource the work required,” he said.

Road repairs and maintenance are now treated in the same way as every other cost to run the services provided by the council such as parks, swimming pools and libraries.