DEFYING increasing financial challenges, Ipswich City Council on Wednesday announced the lowest rates increase in the region.

The council's 3.63% increase for its 2013-2014 budget compares with 3.8% for Brisbane, 6.9% for the Scenic Rim and 4.2% for the Somerset Council.

Ipswich City Council's rates increase in the last budget was 3.95%.

Mayor Paul Pisasale said the $378million budget "continues to deliver the services expected by residents and businesses, while supporting growth in population and jobs".

The budget "wholeheartedly supports" the NBN, and paves the way for roads, public transport and infrastructure needed for Ipswich to take its share of population growth.

Cr Pisasale said for the 10th year in a row "any rises had been kept as low as possible in line with promises made a decade ago".

"We have cut borrowings this year and capped them at $25million," he said.

"Operational savings of $5.5million have been achieved through further efficiencies without affecting council services.

"The commitment made 12 months ago to a 25-year strategy to kerb and channel every urban street remains on track with an allocation of $8.5million.

"Local roads, drainage and bridge improvements have been allocated $41million, while a further $10million will be spent on parks and open space improvements.

A total of $2.8million is allocated to the Enviroplan program which has allowed council to acquire about 5500ha of conservation areas since the Enviroplan levy was introduced.

He said $6.75million would be invested in Ipswich Libraries and the Art Gallery, Civic Centre and Studio 188 were given $4.1million.

"Ipswich is well positioned to continue to create jobs through 15 business and industry parks, residential construction, health, education and defence. These industries are growing in line with the city's growth," he said.

"The median age in Ipswich is 32, compared to the Queensland median of 37. We have prepared our city for the young people of today and will continue to plan our city for the next generation by making sure education and jobs are here in the future."

One of the challenges facing council is diminishing government grants and subsidies.

From about $40million last financial year to $34million this year, government grants and subsidies to the council are expected to drop to about $12million in 2014-2015.

Over three years, total income is expected to drop from $306million to $294million and then to $282 million. Net operating surplus, meanwhile, is predicted to slide from $90million to $69million.

AVERAGE RATES

THE average rates bill across the Ipswich City Council breaks down as follows:

  • Average residential general rate - $1112.76
  • Weekly garbage service - $306
  • Enviroplan Levy - $40
  • Average residential discount - $120 credit
  • Average total 2013/14 - $1338.76.
  • Average total 2012/13 - $1291.84
  • Average bill increase on 2012/13 - 3.63%

INCOME

IPSWICH City Council received $306,232,000 in the past financial year from the following sources:

  • 49% - Net rates and utility charges
  • 11% - Donated assets
  • 5% - Cash contributions
  • 12% - Government grants and subsidies
  • 7% - Fees and charges
  • 1% - Headworks credits
  • 6% - Interest revenue
  • 9% - Other revenue

EXPENSES

IPSWICH City Council spent $216,289,000 in the past financial year on the following:

  • 36% - Employee expenses
  • 29% - Materials and services
  • 23% - Depreciation
  • 9% - Finance costs
  • 3% - Other expenses


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