2011/12 Budget Briefs
The development of a Community Plan for the Southern Downs Region is a requirement of the Local Government Act and an amount of $118,500 has been allocated in the 2011/12 budget for this purpose. Following the floods of December 2010 and January 2011 considerable emphasis has also been placed on Community Recovery and $125,000 has been allocated to achieve specific outcomes identified by the State Government. Grant funding of $250,000 over two years has been approved by the State for this purpose.
Over $420,000 in donations to community groups
Council has again committed its support to local groups and organisations by way of rate relief, monetary donations, in-kind support, plant hire relief and grant application support, with over $115,000 in donations to support local events and $308,100 in donations to community organisations. The latter includes$148,650 in annual grants, $42,000 in rate relief and $72,450 in plant hire grants to assist community groups.
Council will spend $1,265,050 on the crucial area of economic development in 2011/12 after last year adopting a new economic development strategy for the whole region. That includes $109,500 on implementing economic development projects from that plan including food security projects ($20,000), pursuing opportunities for local business in the Surat Basin ($30,000), facilitation of meat poultry industry in Southern Downs ($20,000) and establishing a major investment pathway for business ($9,000). Council will continue to work closely with the area’s peak tourism organisations to create a vibrant tourism industry and event’s calendar for business operators and local residents, spending a total of $459,000.
Supporting the Arts
Council is encouraging of a vibrant local arts community and in 2011/12 has committed $565,854 toward the arts locally. This amount includes supporting funding for the Warwick Art Gallery and the Stanthorpe Art Gallery. A further capital expenditure of $75,000 will go toward extending and improving the Warwick Art Gallery storeroom which houses much of Council’s art collection. Council also supports the Regional Arts Development Fund, which assists the professional development and employment of arts and cultural workers in regional Queensland, and this year has allocated $41,433 to the fund.
Council recognises the importance of youth to the future of our community and the value of considering young people when planning and developing services, activities, infrastructure and facilities for the region. Council has allocated $181,147 in its 2011/12 budget for this purpose, of which $110,000 is subsidised by the State Government. Council will spend $6,000 to support the Youth Activity Plan, $6,000 towards the ‘A Venue’ program, $4,600 to support the three-day In The Bin film festival and $9,000 to support the Young Ambassador and Young Delegate projects.
Council has committed $1,134,241 net to running the valuable and widely used community swimming pool facilities in Allora, Killarney, Stanthorpe and WIRAC this year. No major capital works on swimming pools are budgeted for 2011/12.
Council’s commitment to operating Libraries in 2011/12 is $2.169 million, of which $1,149,579 goes on staff wages, facilities and maintenance, and general operating costs, offset by $192,950 in anticipated revenue. $195,000 is earmarked for purchase of books and materials of which $165,000 is contributed by the State Library of Queensland.
With Eden Gardens in Warwick becoming Council owned and run as of 1 July 2011, total expenditure on operating the Council owned cemeteries in the region in 2011/12 is budgeted at $871,772 offset by $362,250 in revenue. Council will also spend about half a million dollars on upgrades to cemeteries. This includes $100,000 to upgrade roads at Warwick Cemetery, $40,000 for continuation of concrete beams at lawn cemeteries in Warwick, Allora and Killarney and $20,000 to resurface the entranceway to Killarney Cemetery. The largest capital expenditure will be $693,000 to build a new Mausoleum in Stanthorpe. However, Council expects 75 percent of the Mausoleum places to be taken up in the first year through public purchase of crypts bringing $519,750 in receipts. Council has deferred over $210,000 of other upgrades such as road works at Allora Cemetery to future years.
A total of $1,483,795 will be spent operating civic and community facilities this financial year. Capital budget has also been allocated for upgrades to the Stanthorpe Civic Centre ($50,000 for ongoing renewal program, $20,000 for general upgrades); the Warwick Town Hall ($50,000 for ongoing renewal program, $50,000 on heritage improvements, $65,000 on toilets upgrade and $7,500 on storage design plans); and the Allora Community Hall ($12,000 to replace the front skillion roof) the Allora Office, Library and Senior Citizen’s building ($20,000 for structural improvement); in Dalveen $6,000 will go to improvements to the Dalveen Hall. To reduce the financial impact on this year’s budget, officers and councillors have deferred $745,000 of non-urgent capital works on civic buildings to the 2013 and 2014 financial years.
Council has increased capital works funds for the Stanthorpe Dingo Spur Fence from $10,000 to $20,000 in the 2011/12 budget due to concerns that additional works would be required on the fence. Council will provide operating funds in the coming budget for pest management control including $65,000 for the Stanthorpe Dingo Spur fence; $30,000 for the Killarney wild dog fence; $6,500 for top-netting on the rabbit fence; and $20,000 for bounties across the region. A $330,000 precept for rabbit and other biosecurity controls has also been allocated to the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) under this budget.
Over $500,000 has been set aside for animal regulation operations and projects in the coming year. A substantial upgrade to the Warwick pound will be completed this year using funds from last financial year.
Parking Patrol officer
The success of the re-introduced parking patrols in Warwick Central Business District has led to the allocation of budget to continue the patrols in 2011/12.
Planning and Development
Council has provided over $60,000 in the coming budget for completion of the new Southern Downs town planning scheme including a public consultation process before the new town plan can be adopted.