AFTER months of budget workshops and work behind-the-scenes Moreton Bay Regional Council Mayor Allan Sutherland handed down what he called his most difficult budget in 18 years.
The budget will see rates rise by just under $75 dollars per year for the average owner-occupier household.
"In this budget we remain committed to tightening our belt, and finding efficiencies across council" Mayor Sutherland said.
"There is no denying council's budget has taken a hit.
"Council has lost tens of millions of dollars in funding from the state and federal government over the past two years."
Despite this, the budget is set to deliver more than $131 million towards road improvements, including $2 million to upgrade Pumicestone Rd from Jensen Rd to the southern approach of King John Creek Bridge, Caboolture.
The works include lane-widening and new cyclist lanes.
The Mayor also stressed parks and recreation as a key area of the budget, spending a total $59 million.
Of this money, $8.2 million will go towards the new Aussie rules precinct at Burpengary.
Animal lovers will also be pleased with the one million dollar investment in Dakabin's animal management facility.
"Council will continue to work with the RSPCA in enhancing this important facility for our community," Mayor Sutherland said.
The owners of canal-front homes on Bribie Island have been asked to pay for the maintenance of the canals.
Starting early May next year, homeowners living on the Pacific Harbour and Bribie Gardens canals will pay the new Canal Maintenance Reserve.
In Pacific Harbour the levy will be $964 per year while Bribie Gardens residents will get off a little lighter, paying $672.
Councillor Bob Millar said homeowners had contacted council in recent years, worried about the condition and accessibility of the canals.
Industry consultants KBR investigated the waterways and provided council with a program of works. "During the life of these systems, which spans back at least 20 years, no major maintenance or dredging work has been undertaken," Cr Millar said.
KBR confirmed that areas of both canal systems are becoming shallow and difficult to navigate.
"The new arrangement will provide for a much-needed program of long-term dredging works."
Dick Waterfield, President of the Bribie Gardens Canal Association estimated the new charge would add 30% to his already hefty rates bill.
He was angry residents were not consulted, and said the group would be fighting the increase.
"It's caught me by surprise," he said.
"We wouldn't be happy about that.
"There will be squealing."
Mayor Allan Sutherland said the increase was a hard decision but he believed it was the fairest way to maintain the canals.
We're already starting projects over there now without any funding for it," he said.
"Other rate-payers are paying for it." But Mr Waterfield said canal-front homeowners already paid their fair share and he'd be taking the matter to the association meeting next week.
We already pay higher rates than our neighbours on dry blocks because of the higher valuation of our blocks of land," he said.
"That should more than adequately cover the dredging operation which is about to start on our canal."
The news is better for the rest of Bribie Island and its surrounds though, with $4.9 million set to be invested in the area in the coming year.
What are your thoughts on the budget? Tell us below or join the discussion on facebook.com/caboolturenews