Chamber backs budget debt bid
LOCKYER Valley Regional Council's 2018/19 budget has received a mostly positive response from the region's business community, with many welcoming the news that more than 190 businesses would not see their rates increase.
Mayor Tanya Milligan handed down the budget last Tuesday, and described it as a "back-to-basics approach”.
The main selling point of the budget was that the 193 Category 1 businesses in the region would not see an increase in their general rates.
Lockyer Valley Chamber of Commerce president Paul Emmerson said the chamber welcomed the decision not to increase rates for those small businesses.
"At the moment retail is really struggling,” Mr Emmerson said.
"Any cost increase for retail is going to be very difficult for them to absorb.”
However, Mr Emmerson questioned why residential and other commercial categories rates were increased by 2.5 per cent each, above the rate of inflation.
"I'm not quite sure what the rationale needed for that to go up above inflation - what extra services they are going to provide or extra costs that are occurring they need to cover,” he said.
"It could be worth contributing to the surplus, but I doubt it is.”
The budget included paying down $5 million in debt and left council with an operating surplus of just over $2 million.
Mr Emmerson said the surplus would help the council get rid of debt and build resources for the future.
"The stronger we are, with positive budgets, the better off we will be for the future,” he said.
It was a view echoed by director of Lockyer Valley Waste Management and chamber vice-chairman of John Schollick, who said the council's biggest challenge in the coming years would be to continue to pay down debt while also providing better infrastructure and services.