It’s the first time Logan City Council has delivered its first $1 billion budget.
For the city, it means increased infrastructure spend. For ratepayers, it means a rates hike of 2.5%.
While that’s more than double inflation of 1.1%, it’s also slightly higher than last year’s pandemic year rise of 2.2%. For most home owners, it will equate to about $70/year on top of their current rates bill.
Such a big budget in one of the country’s fastest-growing cities is fraught with challenges.
Mayor Darren Power has acknowledged the conundrum – to build high-quality infrastructure for growth areas and new developments, yet maintaining and upgrading older suburbs which are at risk of falling into disrepair.
“City of Logan is growing at its fastest rate in its 42-year history,” he said.
To help address the issue, council has developed a new bucket of money which can be used to address immediate community infrastructure needs – $3 million for the coming year, and $20 million each year thereafter.
“While this program is essential for our high-growth areas – suburbs such as Yarrabilba, Flagstone, Park Ridge and Bahrs Scrub to name just a few – it also applies to renewing and upgrading existing community infrastructure in our more established areas,” Cr Power said.
Cr Natalie Willcocks heads up council’s Governance Committee and has defended the rates increase.
“This is a small increase that ensures our finances remain sustainable wo we can continue to provide essential services that make our city a great place to live, work and do business,” she said.
She said 15,000 households would benefit from increased pensioner discounts on rates.
New community projects would be in addition to those already underway, including the almost-finished Kingston Butter Factory refurbishment, the new Cronulla Park PCYC at Slacks Creek, the Logan North Aquatic main pool upgrade, and Yarrabilba Community Hub.
Projects which could be fast-tracked due to the $20 million infrastructure fund include Greater Flagstone Community Hub and community facilities in Logan Central, Cr Willcocks said.
Another new initiative of the budget is a new Mayor’s Jobs Taskforce.
“I will personally oversee a jobs taskforce to identify local employment opportunities by working closely with local businesses,” Cr Power said.
Picture: Kingston residents Stephanie and Tyrone Girle grew up in City of Logan and went to school and university here. The couple is now house hunting locally for a new home to raise five-month-old daughter Georgie. “This is home and always has been,” Stephanie said. “Logan has provided a great launching pad for everything we’ve wanted to achieve.”