George Seymour with the 2018/19 budget
George Seymour with the 2018/19 budget Blake Antrobus

EXCLUSIVE: General rates to be frozen in next council budget

GENERAL rates being frozen and the council's service and material costs remaining at the same level as 2018/19 are some of the major goals the council will aim to deliver in the upcoming budget.

They're some of the ambitious financial goals outlined by Fraser Coast mayor George Seymour as senior council staff and councillors make preparations for the 2019/20 budget.

The Chronicle can reveal exclusive details of the Fraser Coast Regional Council's upcoming budget, which include working towards a zero per cent general rates rise.

However, a 2.5 per cent increase in water and sewerage charges and the State Government's new water levy impacting budget items are expected to have an impact on the budget's bottom line.

Cr Seymour said the freezing of rates was due to the council "finding efficiencies and cost savings" that include "keeping our overall materials and services costs at the same level".

"Despite rises in electricity, wage rates and other costs, we believe this is achievable by finding efficiencies within our operations," Cr Seymour said.

"It's about prioritising projects, meeting community needs and doing it within our means while still catering for the growth in our population."

It follows the council revealing debt levels had been reduced to $98.7 million, the lowest amount in 10 years.

This is the first time council debt has been under $100million in a decade.
This is the first time council debt has been under $100million in a decade.

In last year's budget, the council introduced a capping system to offset rate rises and promised a zero per cent net revenue increase.

More than 7000 ratepayers received notices of rate rises due to changed in State Government-controlled land valuations and general category re-classifications, some receiving increases of more than 10 per cent.

George Seymour explains the budget: Fraser Coast mayor George Seymour handed down his first budget on Wednesday