GENERAL RATES LOCKED: Councillor Rolf Light, deputy mayor Darren Everard and council CEO Ken Diehm after the 2019-20 council budget was handed down.
GENERAL RATES LOCKED: Councillor Rolf Light, deputy mayor Darren Everard and council CEO Ken Diehm after the 2019-20 council budget was handed down. Alistair Brightman

RATES LOCKED: Debt down as council delivers 'sound' budget

GENERAL rates won't be increased and debt will be driven down under the Fraser Coast Regional Council's $335 million 2019-20 budget.

During his budget speech, mayor George Seymour revealed the council's debt was at its lowest level since amalgamation.

"After peaking at about $175 million six years ago, our debt has now fallen to about $90 million," Cr Seymour said.

He said the debt was forecast to fall to $73 million by June 2020.

"To put this achievement into perspective, our debt levels are now equivalent to someone with a $400,000 home loan having a mortgage of just over $11,000 left," Cr Seymour said.

The new budget has also forecast a surplus of $902,000.

Dubbing it a "sound and responsible budget", mayor George Seymour and the 10 Fraser Coast councillors unanimously endorsed the budget's financial recommendations, which included a significant investment in community infrastructure and services.

It will be the second year in a row the council will collect the same total general rates as the previous year.

However, Cr Seymour said last year's State Government land valuations would continue to impact several property owners across the Fraser Coast.

Cr Seymour said these properties would continue to benefit from the council's rates capping policy, introduced last year to offset the land valuation increases.

There were no new land valuations carried out this year.

"This is a budget that seeks to strike the right balance between strong fiscal management and continuing to invest in the improved services and infrastructure our community needs," Cr Seymour said.