Rates surge wont hit us says Mayor

IPSWICH Mayor Paul Pisasale has reaffirmed his vow not to raise rates because of the floods, saying he won’t let the city down.

The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) has warned councils they may have no choice but to increase rates more than normal.

The 2011 council-cost index report, commissioned by the LGAQ, forecasts a big jump in the cost of road and bridge construction as a result of the summer of floods and cyclones.

“This increase in demand for construction work would be expected to have a significant impact on prices,” the report said.

“On top of this, private-sector capital works will also increase.”

LGAQ chief executive Greg Hallam said councils would have to pass on the massive costs of repairing flood and cyclone damage.

He said those capital works would add 7.5% a year to the total amount of council capital works for the next two years.

“Councils were already doing it tough before these disasters came, and now with reconstruction bound to drive up prices they confront another challenge,” Mr Hallam said.

“They need to reconcile increased community expectations about the level of services they provide with the capacity to pay for those services.

“But councils would not be contributing to the financial sustainability of their communities it they tried to limit rate increases to just the CPI level.”

He said the Queensland Treasury Corporation had warned councils three years ago that basing their revenue increases on or below CPI failed to recognise the true cost of the services they provide to the community.

But the Ipswich Mayor, who has already said the city’s rates won’t be inflated by the flood clean-up cost, said his position had not changed.

“That 7.5% is just an indication from the LGAQ,” Cr Pisasale said.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day and council has to understand the effect on families.

“The council might have to spend more time looking at spending money on repairing infrastructure than new projects. We might have to tread water for eight months, but I won’t let the people of Ipswich down.

“As mayor I’ve always tried to keep rates close to inflation.”

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