Flooding bill blows out to $170m
IPSWICH Mayor Paul Pisasale says he and his council are facing one of their toughest tasks to keep a rates rise to a minimum.
While people in other Queensland councils are facing increases of up to 10 per cent, Ipswich's mayor wants to keep his city to about half that.
But Cr Pisasale admitted yesterday he and his council would be working hard to achieve that before the budget announcement on June 27.
He said the bottom line of the budget was that the latest estimate for flood damage to the city's infrastructure was now up to $170 million.
The goal was to get the majority of that infrastructure back up and running this time next year but there could be a funding shortfall.
“We won't be able to get that all back through the NDRRA (Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements) so there will have to be tens of millions of dollars in our budget to pick up what the funding doesn't provide,” Cr Pisasale said.
“I'll be talking to the department head to work out a solution. We've got to do everything we can to keep rates reasonable.
“I hate to cut services. I don't want to see any of them cut to keep rates low.
“This is a tough budget. We took a $170 million hit from the floods and I've got a responsibility to keep rates low because people are hurting.”
Last year, Cr Pisasale announced that in 2010-2011 residential owner/occupiers in Ipswich would have an average rates and charges increase of $1.19 per week or an average increase of 5.54%.
But the challenges to keep rates reasonable for the next financial year are significantly greater.
“We're looking at what we can do to bring down a budget that's responsible; it doesn't meaning losing services and it doesn't meaning increasing rates too much,” the Mayor said.
“We're looking at extra grant money, looking at funding from State and Federal governments, looking at every way we can get money to fix our infrastructure. Rates will be the last avenue.
“This is one of the toughest tasks I've had as mayor. The pressures of the family budget are enormous, people are hurting, but we have a responsibility to maintain services.”
- Rates and charges comparison from 2009-2010 to 2010-2011.
- Average residential general rate: $950.88; $1012.64.
- Weekly garbage service: $224; $248.
- Enviroplan levy: $36; $37.
- Average residential discount: $95.09; $120.
- Average residential net amount payable: $1115.79; $1177.64.