It is no secret that the Douglas Shire is in dire need of major infrastructure development in the area of water and waste management, not just to keep up with current demands, but future requirements. This will place a huge cost burden on current ratepayers if not appropriately managed by Council. At the Ordinary Council meeting held on the 30th March, Councillors unanimously voted in favour of a Debt General Policy which stated “At this stage, Council’s 10-year financial forecast does not include any planned borrowings…”. How then is this Council going to ensure that there is an equitable distribution of the cost burden for infrastructure development? Today’s ratepayers should not bare the full burden of cost for assets that future ratepayers will benefit from. Queensland Treasury Corporation offers a rolling debt fund for this very purpose and to ensure Councils keep infrastructure up to date without unrealistic pressure on ratepayers.
In the lead up to the Council election, the previous Council proudly reported the very low debt rate in Council. The cost of this has been persistent and disproportionate increases in rates and charges in this Shire. The current Council seems to be taking the same approach.
Will ratepayers be facing more unnecessary rates and charges increases in the Shire? We will watch with interest.