City council rates rise to be under 4%
PREPARING to bring down his 10th Ipswich City Council Budget this week, Mayor Paul Pisasale has two words for residents: don't panic.
Last month, the mayor said Ipswich faced a horror budget unless councillors could counteract the effects of two major floods and slow economic growth.
He told the QT on May 20 if the council continued without making changes there would be a rates increase of more than 8%.
Yesterday he said that threat had been averted.
While unable to give details ahead of Wednesday's official budget announcement, he said Ipswich's rates rise would be similar to the 3.8% for Brisbane's 2013-14 Budget and 3.95% for the 2012-2013 Ipswich Budget - and much less than the Scenic Rim Regional Council's 6.9% increase.
"I can say with regard to the last story saying it could be 8% - don't panic, it will not be 8%," Cr Pisa sale said. "The average rates increase will be less than half of 8%. Exceptions to that will be in areas where we are removing the rates capping. Some areas have had capping for too long.
"It's going to be a budget where we've looked at the council without affecting services.
"At the same time we've been able to get the rates right down in taking into consideration the impact on families.
"We know this is a tough economic period, but we also know we want this budget to manage growth because the future prosperity of this city depends on how we manage growth."
Last month he flagged cutting services or stretching them over more than one budget, but said now that wouldn't be the case.
"In actual fact, I think you'll find some services will be improved," he said.
In the last council election, he promised to kerb and channel the city's roads in the next 25 years and he said that hadn't changed.
"We set that in train in the last budget and it will continue," he said. "The councillors have worked very hard with the staff on this budget. One of the biggest strengths I've got is 170 years of council experience between myself and the other councillors.
"No other council in Australia would have that sort of experience."