Budget wish list uncovered
REASONABLE rates is topping the wish list in the region’s biggest centres with businesses anxiously waiting to hear how they will be affected by contentious state land valuations and the new differential rating system.
Warwick Chamber of Commerce vice president David Littleproud said the Chamber hoped the Southern Downs Regional Council would keep a lid on rates increases for the good of the business community.
“Retailers are doing it hard at the moment – there has been a time lag with the Global Financial Crisis and they are just feeling the effects of that now,” Mr Littleproud told the Daily News.
“It’s important council puts downward pressure on rate increases and takes that into account in terms of its spending.
“We also don’t want to see an increase on commercial fees and charges. If this new rating system reduces the extent of rate increases, we don’t want council to substitute that onto the commercial part of economy by increasing those fees and charges.”
Read more: Ratepayers warned of tough budget
Mr Littleproud said the Chamber understood it would be a “workman-like, no-frills budget” and that it was an important time to take stock.
“We understand council can’t do anything about the state valuations but we hope they adopt a model to ensure increases are not monumental.”
Meanwhile, Stanthorpe suffered huge valuation increases earlier this year, with some properties spiking by as much as 500 per cent.
Many are still waiting to hear the results of their objections to their unimproved land values and there is significant community concern over potential rate rises, to which Power Cat developer Stephen Kay attests.
“There is concern out there and uncertainty about what the future level of rates will be because of changes to the rating system and the increases in valuations,” Mr Kay said.
ROAD maintenance continues to be a thorn in the side of Killarney residents who are hoping this year’s budget will help improve their infrastructure.
Killarney Veterinary Surgery vet David Thomson hoped to see the town’s streetscaping and roadworks tidied up and finished.
“I understand they need funds to push these things through and complete them so we’ll have to wait and see if these funds are available. But roads really are a priority,” Mr Thomson said.
Killarney View Caravan Park owner Trudy Grant echoed these sentiments.
“It would be good to see the streetscape complete as it’s never been finished yet,” she said, adding she hoped some of the local roads would be filled too.
ALLORA Advertiser David Gleeson said the town would not be greedy but its two biggest demands were unfortunately expensive, with the effluent system and drinking water longstanding bugbears of residents.
“We need better than what we have at the moment. Apart from that, it’s just little things like upgrading parks and gardens,” Mr Gleeson said.
“There was talk of a running loop and that would be a nice treat. I don’t think the streetscape is high on anyone’s list of priorities at the moment.”
Local pharmacist Jon Constable said he had no real expectations from the budget.
“It’s going to be a pretty tough budget and we’re just going to have to deal with that,” Mr Constable said.
Mr Constable is also head of the taskforce created to help improve medical services in the town and said he was not anticipating any council funds to be directed to the new medical centre.
“Council is going to work with us on getting money from federal government for that,” he said.
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