Scenic Rim Mayor Greg Christensen with CEO Jon Gibbons at the 2018-19 Council budget meeting at the Beaudesert Council Chambers.
Scenic Rim Mayor Greg Christensen with CEO Jon Gibbons at the 2018-19 Council budget meeting at the Beaudesert Council Chambers. Ashleigh Howarth

Increase to rates and waste revealed in Scenic Rim budget

HOME owners throughout the Scenic Rim will see an increase in their rates and waste charges this coming financial year, after Mayor Greg Christensen handed down his 2018-19 budget on June 13.

At the Beaudesert Council Chambers, Cr Christensen explained how the rate increase would be based on the "State Government's legislative criteria which requires councils to generate revenue through rates linked to property valuations".

"Residential and rural principal places of residence categories will receive a 2.1 per cent increase in the minimum general rate. A cap of 9 per cent will apply to increases in rates on rural and residential properties that are a principal place of residence," Cr Christensen said.

"Around 75 per cent of residential properties, including principal and non-principal place of residence, will experience in general rates of less than 2.5 per cent in 2018-19. In fact, almost half of these will experience no increase for 2018-19.

"To provide a little more context - for an owner-occupied residence on the minimum general rate of $1203 - the 2018-19 outcome represents a difference of $25 annually or 48 cents per week."


Scenic Rim Regional Council's budget book for 2018-19.
Scenic Rim Regional Council's budget book for 2018-19. Ashleigh Howarth

Cr Christensen said council has adopted a model of three-year land valuation averaging to alleviate more money coming out of resident's hip pockets.

"After considering a number of options, we have adopted a model of three-year land valuation averaging, along with capping of maximum increases, to alleviate the impact on rate rises from the volatility in valuation outcomes," he said in his budget speech.

"Due to the previously mentioned valuations released by the Valuer-General's Department - the first in three years - and the wide range of valuation changes, a great amount of time has been spent this year to consider the rates and charges components of our revenue.

"We are acutely aware of the concerns of some land owners who received significant - up to 80 per cent in some cases - valuation changes. While we have evaluated a wide range of possible approaches, the model we have selected was seen as providing the best solution to moderate the variability and volatility in some areas, and still achieve balanced outcomes. This model is based on averaging valuations over a three-year window and applying a series of maximum increase percentage caps as well.

"Over the coming year we plan to return more attention to our revenue strategy and, in particular, to our rates strategy to assess further improvements.

"We continue to look to the pillars of the Community Plan to support our decision making in all that we do to realise our shared vision for the region."

Cr Christensen also said due to increases from the council's waste provider, residents will also need to find an additional $25 for waste collection.

"Due to an increase charges imposed by our recycling processor, an increase of $25 has been added to waste collection and processing," he said.

"To be very clear, we will not put our recyclables into landfill and we are confident that the Scenic Rim community will continue to support council's efforts to ensure environmentally sustainable and financially viable solutions for our region's management of waste.

"I'm really proud of our waste management - we have less than 15 per cent contamination rate."

Waste collection and transfer station operations together will account for more than $6.76 million of council's total waste management expenditure in the year ahead.

The State Government's announcement on June 1 of a waste disposal levy has implications for the council's 2018-19 budget. From January 1, 2019, the government will impose a charge of $70 per tonne on commercial waste, rising by $5 a year. For commercial operators with a wheelie bin collection service, this will result in an additional charge commencing on the January 29 rates notice.

"The State Government has advised that there will be no direct impact to the cost of domestic (household) waste from the introduction of this levy but producers of commercial waste will be directly impacted," Cr Christensen said.