Gold Coast ratepayers look forward to low rate rise

GOLD Coast city residents will pay the lowest annual rate increase of any south-east Queensland council - adding to five consecutive years of low rate increases.

Mayor Tom Tate said the average residential rates and charges would increase 1.69% in 2016-17.

"We have done this without any special levies to fund the upcoming Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games or stage one of the cultural precinct which is now under way," Cr Tate said.

"Residents and business will also welcome news that, in 2016-17, there will be no increase in sewerage or water service charges as well as zero increase in council's water consumption charges.

"This is a budget formed as a direct response to what people are telling me - keep rates low, maintain frontline services and put an end to spiralling water charges," he said.

"We have increased the transport levy by $6 (up 5.13%) to fund additional congestion-busting initiatives (including parking) to make it easier to get around our city.

"This will help fund stage two of the light rail and allow us to investigate final route options for stage three, all the way to the airport."

Mayor Tate applauded councillors and the administration for "showing the type of budget restraint Gold Coasters expect".

Other budget highlights include:

Paying down $42 million debt

Zero increase to the open space levy (remains at $38)

Zero increase to the recreational space charge (remains at $29)

Maintained city-wide volunteer fire brigade charge ($2)

Early payment discount retained (10% if rates paid on time)

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