Budget boasts no debt

SOMERSET Regional Council (SRC) has beaten considerable odds with the latest budget handed down on June 29, boasting SRC as a ‘no-debt council'.

Somerset Regional Councillor, Neil Zabel, said he was proud of the performance of council over the past year.

“I think the fact that we have a no debt council makes us one of the elite councils in Queensland,” he said.

“The fact that we were able to achieve such a good bank balance with everything that has happened this year is something I must congratulate the staff at this council for.”

Somerset Regional Council Mayor, Graeme Lehmann, said more than 75 per cent of Somerset property owners will see no increase in their Council general rates during the next year.

“We know that many in our community have suffered as a result of January's floods,” he said.

“Our $63 million budget has been prepared following the worst natural disaster in our area in living memory.

“Our budget sees no change in minimum general rates, no change in general rates as a percentage of Government valuations for homes, farms and regular business and no change to our 15 per cent prompt payment discount.”

Somerset residents who do see an increase can expect a rise of about three to four per cent, according to the value of their properties.

Cr Lehmann said council intended to rebuild Somerset stronger than before.

“Our total capital works program includes a $2.4 million upgrade to drainage in Fernvale and $6.1 million to replace the Alf Williams Bridge over the Brisbane River between Toogoolawah and Kilcoy.

“There is $750,000 to replace Hubners Bridge north of Kilcoy and $4.4 million to replace Lyceum Hall in Esk.”

Cr Lehmann said funding was requested from the government for Gregors Creek Bridge and part of the costs of the Lyceum Hall and Hubners Bridge.

“We await advice on these applications,” he said.

“We are the fastest growing council area in southern Queensland and that brings opportunities along with these challenges.

“Our 2012 budget is realistic and fair and positions Somerset for these challenges and opportunities.

“This budget is achievable.”

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