PRUDENT: Deputy Mayor Wayne Wendt said the Ipswich City Council always looked at value for money.
PRUDENT: Deputy Mayor Wayne Wendt said the Ipswich City Council always looked at value for money. Rob Williams

$106m surplus puts Ipswich in the green

LOWER expenditure helped Ipswich City Council double its operating surplus to $106 million this financial year, the annual report shows.

According to the council's 2016-2017 annual report, the council's expenses fell 21 per cent to $257.1 million while revenue increased 5.8 per cent to $358.7 million.

The majority of the council's revenue, about $179 million, came from rates, levies and charges.

Deputy Mayor and City Management, Finance and Community Engagement Committee chairman Wayne Wendt said the surplus was a result of good financial management.

"Ipswich City Council is always endeavouring to make the ratepayers money to go as far as possible and looking for the best value we can," he said.

"The new mayor and new team are constantly looking at ways to get better value for money.

"Going forward I think the Ipswich community will continue to see better outcomes with finances and services."

Its biggest expense, at $96 million, was materials and services closely followed by employee expenses at $82 million.

At June 30, 2017, the council held $2.8 billion in assets, $101.4 million more than the previous year.

Ipswich City councillors' remuneration jumped from $112,712 in 2015-2016 to $114,947 this financial year.

Councillors' remuneration is set annually by the Local Government Remuneration and Discipline Tribunal.

Within the council, the chief executive officer has a total remuneration package between $350,000 and $450,000 while "six senior contract employees" have a total remuneration package in the range of $250,000 to $350,000.

During the 2016-2017 financial year, the Ipswich City Council reimbursed councillors for office space, facilities and the cost of representing the city.

Mayor Paul Pisasale's expense was $160,964, David Morrison $90,584, Paul Tully $112,530, Kerry Silver $81,460, Kylie Stoneman $77,445, Wayne Wendt $104,132, Cheryl Bromage $104,922, Andrew Antoniolli $51,154, Charlie Pisasale $95,401, Sheila Ireland $103,796 and David Pahlke $84,866.

In the past year, $30.3 million was allocated to road, park and bridge improvements.

With 24 per cent of people paying their rates online, the council saved about $75,000.

Civic Centre ticket sales increased by 6.5 per cent.

Ratepayers billed for world trips

AN OFFICER'S trip to New York at a cost of $19,253 was one of many taken by staff and councillors in the financial year.

The annual report also reveals international travel to destinations including Hong Kong, Indonesia, China and the United Kingdom.

Ratepayers were billed almost $40,000 for Councillor Cheryl Bromage and chief operating officer Ben Pole's attendance at an Intelligent Communities Forum in New York.

Cr Bromage's trip cost $18,954 while Mr Pole's hit $19,253.

Ipswich was awarded the 2017 World Top 7 Intelligent Community at the Intelligent Community Forum.

Former mayor Paul Pisasale and suspended chief executive officer Jim Lindsay were scheduled to attend the conference but withdrew.

Mr Pisasale and Mr Lindsay's cancellation cost the council $698.77 and $3,715 respectively.

Cr Tully's trip to Singapore, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur for a World Cities Summit and Inspections cost Ipswich $14,318.

Seven trips were taken by Mr Pisasale at a cost of more than $41,000 to ratepayers.

Mr Lindsay's travel to China for an R&F Properties visit cost $7666.

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