Ratepayers are the real winners in the $1.7 billion Council budget handed down today, with rate increases to drop below zero and community organisations to get a much needed helping hand.
Approximately 137,800 principal place of residence ratepayers will receive a financial rebate of $64, which is a general rate reduction of around 0.3 percent.
Mayor Tom Tate said the budget is a responsible one that provides the right response in these challenging times.
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“This budget ensures our unique Gold Coast lifestyle is preserved while continuing to invest in local infrastructure, maintain community assets and strengthen our economy,” he said.
“For the majority of ratepayers* (*Principal Place of Residence ratepayers), there will be a zero rates increase due to a $64 rebate.
“In light of the extraordinary challenges of COVID19, we have worked hard to ensure this budget continues to deliver those essential services so important to safeguarding our lifestyle.
“Our $26.9 million community and business support package offers assistance to those who are doing it tough through payment plans with general rates, water and sewerage rates as well as benefits for sporting and community groups, like waiving of fees and rent relief.
“For the sixth year running, there is no price increase on water consumption and sewerage charges,” Mayor Tate said.
Millions of dollars will be spent on infrastructure projects around the city, including the redevelopment of the Palm Beach Aquatic Centre.
Other major projects include the completion of the HOTA gallery ($35.4 million), Robina City Parklands construction ($8.2 million) and the Pimpama Sports Hub ($40.6 million).
Mayor Tom Tate’s cruise ship terminal dreams have been put on the back burner to free up more money for local initiatives.
$288 million will be go towards roads and transport infrastructure alone, which will see a stack of major road upgrades go ahead, including Hinkler Drive in Worongary ($4.2m), Alto Terrace in Yatala ($4.1m), Petrie Street in Coolangatta ($2.4m), and Wardoo Street in Southport ($1.5m).
Meanwhile a massive $26.9 million will be spent supporting community and business, which includes measures such as waving roadside dining fees for restaurants.
There will also be rent relief for community organisations, eligible surf and sports clubs, and sporting organisations at major venues, as well as the waiving of hire fees for sports facilities and community centres.
Community organisations will be able to access immediate one-off hardship grants to help support vulnerable residents, with funding for approximately 250 organisations, valued at a total of $500,000.
There is also one-off recovery grants for local community groups, valued at a total of $1 million, which will help up to 500 groups with recovery and re-establishment activities.
For details on applying for these grants, visit cityofgoldcoast.com.au/covid19grants
The Mayor’s also given a nod to Destination Gold Coast and their efforts to conserve funds to get the city’s tourism industry back on track as soon as possible, but refused to up their funding.
It is also hoped that the city’s new events body Major Events Gold Coast will help liven the city back up again, drawing crowds back for big events as restrictions continue easing.
There was no opposition from councillors when the budget was passed this morning, with some councillors even laughing at the call.
The city’s debt has also come down to $650 million from around $800 million a few years ago.
Deputy Mayor Donna Gates said it is an incredible budget this year and rate payers should be pleased.
“We’ve focused on the things we know are important to community: our parks, our recreational spaces.
“We’re focused on community, we’re focused on keeping the rates as low as we possible can.
“It’s a good outcome in difficult times,” Ms Gates said.
For all Budget 20-21 information visit cityofgoldcoast.com.au/annualplan