Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

WE'LL PAY Why We're All Facing Much Higher Charges; Car Parking Fees for Everyone Higher Water Charges

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

WE'LL PAY Why We're All Facing Much Higher Charges; Car Parking Fees for Everyone Higher Water Charges

Article excerpt

SUNSHINE Coast residents face paid parking and higher water, airport and caravan park charges as the council struggles to fund a multi-million-dollar budget shortfall.

The council's CEO John Knaggs has also signalled hundreds of council jobs will have to go after July 1 next year as council is aseriously over-managed''.

Cr Vivien Griffin said the council must look at ways to implement paid on-street parking while minimising impacts on tourism a and residents. "We could have residents' passes for example," Cr Griffin said.

"It's a difficult policy but it's an issue the council has to deal with."

COUNCIL finance director Greg Laverty warned of an aextremely tougha budget to be handed down on June 30.

The council has taken asignificant hitsa, ranging from a $15 million shortfall in general revenue, ongoing amalgamation and employment guarantee costs, the removal of State Government subsidies, superannuation cost blow-outs and escalating charges.

More developers than anticipated had also handed over parks and open space for council maintenance.

In July, the council will also hand over its water and sewerage operations to Unitywater, along with a full one-third of its total income a as well as 350 staff and running costs a but it will lose ancillary income too.

Revenue, other than normal rates and charges, represented only 3-4% of council income and yesterday economic portfolio councillor Lew Brennan said he would like to see it raised to at least 10%.

Mr Laverty laid out the facts at council's first-of-five budget meetings yesterday, showing that revenues in key areas such as Sunshine Coast Airport and its caravan parks actually went backwards.

"This will be an extremely tough budget," he said.

"This year's budget was $750 million and the next will be less with one-third of the revenue disappearing through the water entity transfer.

"We are still working on how it will impact."

Mr Laverty said some small benefits had been gained using the size of the new council, in reduced telecommunications costs, for example, but there was a $2 million drop in revenue from rateable properties this year. …

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