IPSWICH Mayor Paul Pisasale went into sales mode yesterday, trying to deflect any criticism over his council's decision to increase the city rates.
His key line in all media interviews was "this budget will be good for the city in the long run".
The bottom line for ratepayers is there will be an average rates rise of 4.44% or an extra $1.30 a week.
Cr Pisasale said the $373 million budget was about investing in infrastructure and improving services, while also building and planning for future growth.
"Investing in people, particularly young people, had been the number one priority in putting together a budget that built and secured the future," he said.
"Really, $1.30 a week is not a lot to pay for your future.
"I think it's a very fair budget that concentrates on the future and I'm sure the people of Ipswich will understand where we're going. They've seen our direction for the past 10 years."
Brisbane City Council last week announced its rates would increase on average 3.85% or $48 in comparison to Ipswich's $67.60 jump.
"We could have had the same rates increase as Brisbane but that extra 17 cents a day allows us to build infrastructure that will secure our city's future. If you build the future today, it's going to be cheaper for you," Cr Pisasale said.
"We've got to make sure we understand the pressures on families," he said.
"I have the job to take the city forward with the councillors and create the jobs of the future for the people.
"It's about jobs for our kids. If our kids don't have a future; if our kids are leaving, we have a problem."
The mayor said full aged pension recipients received remissions of up to $245 a year and the weekly garbage and fortnightly recycling services would be $316 per year.
Actions taken during recent years had enabled a budget surplus of $1.6 million.
"We wanted to make sure we bring down a budget that will position us for future years and make sure it is a budget for Ipswich and its people that does not reduce services," Cr Pisasale said.
Deputy Mayor Victor Attwood said council was firmly focussed on increased efficiencies and delivering maximum value.
"We will continue to invest in roads, bridges, parks, community amenities and facilities," Cr Attwood said.
"One project worthy of mention in the budget and of citywide significance is construction of the missing link of Collingwood Drive between Collingwood Park and Redbank Plains Road at a cost of $6.5 million.
"Another is the three-year plan to upgrade Redbank Plains Road between Keidges and School roads at a cost of $20 million."
Cr Attwood said rates alone did not cover the city council's full operations and new suburbs.
"The development industry is also expected to pay its way," he said.
"While bricks and mortar infrastructure is important, we also have an eye on the future improving and enhancing digital services.
"Part of those improvements includes a significant upgrade of council's website which will be revealed in a few weeks.
"More residents are relying on online services to access information, make payments and send inquiries and, as an organisation, we need to continue evolving as technology changes."
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