LOGAN City Council’s (LCC) budget will be handed down on June 26. LCC treasurer and Division 11 councillor Trevina Schwarz spoke to the Times ahead of the annual fiscal announcement.
According to Mrs Schwarz, last year’s LCC budget was $755 million.
”It’s a lot of money, but then we are the sixth-largest local government in Australia, with a population over 300,000, so we have a lot to cover.
“Like every year, we allocate an appropriate amount of funding to ensure fundamental services like road maintenance, waste collection and our water and wastewater services are delivered to a high standard.
“Outside of those areas, Council delivers over 100 community programs and services, including supporting nine libraries, over 900 parks, pools, gyms, sports fields, free immunisations, community safety programs, family support initiatives and so much more.”
Mrs Schwarz said council also plays an important role in supporting economic development and jobs growth, promoting the city and working with other levels of government to secure funding for Logan-focused projects.
“The challenge for council is to make sure we appropriately fund those things while keeping costs for our residents as low as we can.”
When asked about fiscal management challenges in the pipeline, the treasurer identified rising costs.
“The cost of council doing business – including buying all the material for basic services such as roads and electricity – is increasing above the rate of inflation.
“For the past few years, council has been committed to – and successfully delivered – budgets that have been at the rate of CPI.
“To do that means we have to scrutinise every aspect of our budget to help us offset the additional cost of us doing business, whilst honouring our commitment to residents to maintain current services,” she said.
Mrs Schwarz underlined that this budget will be for the whole city, providing for spending across a range of areas to meet the current and future needs of residents, but she hinted at some local benefits in the pipeline.
“I can’t go into specifics until council endorses the 2017/18 budget later this month, but I can say that ensuring adequate funding is there to maintain and upgrade roads in our region.
“Council is responsible for 2147 kilometres of road and a lot of those are in the south-west parts of our city that are growing quickly.
“The $4.5 million upgrade of New Beith Road will continue, while works are also planned for Cedar Grove Road and fixing the Scott Lane culvert.
The popular Gravel Roads and Shoulder Sealing (GRASS) program that prioritises upgrades to our rural roads will continue to be funded too, according to the treasurer.
Listening to communities
According to Mrs Schwarz, LCC has a reputation across the state as a financially strong and responsible local government authority.
“As city treasurer, I think this budget will reflect that reputation.
“Council started planning for this budget in late 2016, so a lot of time and effort goes into making sure we get the balance right between maintaining essential services, planning for the future and keeping costs down for residents.
“I think people will see this budget demonstrate that we are listening to our communities and funding what is needed now, as well as looking ahead and planning for our future,” she said.