Cultural centre, M'boro pool helped create council's debt
THE events which led to the Fraser Coast Regional Council racking up a $174.5million debt have been revealed.
It comes after Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour revealed the council had cut its loan debt by almost half in six years.
Speaking to reporters yesterday he explained that since amalgamation in 2008, the council had invested in major projects including the Fraser Coast Cultural Centre, the Maryborough pool and a revamp of the Urangan Pier.
Cr Seymour said those projects had been rightly perceived to be of a long term benefit to the community so it was deemed appropriate future rates from residents would help pay for them.
He said the outstanding debt was not interfering with the progress of local projects, including the Sports Precinct.
Just like a mortgage on a home, a loan to a council comes with hefty interest rates.
One year, the council used $10million of ratepayer's money simply to pay the interest.
Now, that number has dwindled to $6million a year meaning there is an extra $4million available to better the community.
When asked what this meant for ratepayers, Cr Seymour said the decreased debt could only be seen as positive for helping to keep rates down.
"In terms of rates, we want to keep any possible rate rises as low as possible," Cr Seymour.
"Where we can reduce debt and therefore the amount of interest being paid, that's always of an assistance to keep the rate rises as low as possible."
The goal is to reduce the debt even further to $93million by June.
Cr Seymour said work would soon start on next year's budget.