Rate rise gives residents a real bang for their buck
RATES and charges will go up 3.88% on average across Ipswich next financial year but Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale insists residents will get more bang for their buck than ever before.
The rise translates to an average rates and charges increase of $1.22 per week and includes the state government's emergency and fire levies.
The early payment discount of $132 is in place as is the $245 remission for pensioners.
Cr Pisasale has branded his 2016/17 budget as one that "gets things done" and said the rate increase, which will see average residential general rates rise from $1201.10 to $1247.75. per year, would facilitate a major investment in infrastructure and a reduction on debt.
Infrastructure spending will increase 25% from $80 million to $100m.
Spending on sealed roads goes up from $12m to $17m - an increase of 40%. More than $1m extra is budgeted for landscaping and vegetation management totalling $15.6m - a rise of 7.25%.
Tourism development and marketing gets an 80% boost with $745,000 allocated while Ipswich Nature Centre receives a $100,000 windfall.
Ipswich waterways are a vital aspect of the city which will also receive a 9.18% increase in funds for a $1.64m spend
Cr Pisasale said the rate increase was minimal when compared to the increase in spending across the board.
The Ipswich City Council's rate rise, on average, is below Brisbane's 4.7% but more than Toowoomba's 3.34% and Moreton Bay's 2.98%.
"It is not about what you collect in rates, it is about how you spend it," Cr Pisasale said.
"In this budget we collect $146m from the ratepayers but we spend $411m.
"It is important to put the 3.88% in perspective.
"I could bring it down lower but to do so would be negligent to the city, because then you are not looking after the future.
"By making it 3.88% now it means that it the next three or four years it is going to drop.
"Rates have gone up just over $1 per week but infrastructure spending goes up 25% in this budget."
The major funding allocations that have been made include:
• $33m for asset rehabilitation roads, parks and bridges.
• $11.6m for parks, sport and the environment.
• $8.5m for the accelerated kerb and channel program.
• $4m for the pre-construction phase of the proposed Springfield Central library and $300,000 to progress detailed design of a new Rosewood library.
• $16.9m for new road improvements, drainage and flood mitigation; including $7.6m for the stage two upgrade of Redbank Plains Road between Cedar and School roads.
• $15.6m towards landscape and vegetation management; including $6.9m for mowing and maintenance of parks.
• A further $7.2m on replacement of fleet vehicles including trucks for Ipswich Waste Services and other heavy vehicles needed for major infrastructure works and maintenance.
"I have allocated at least three infrastructure projects for each division so the whole city is treated equally and we take it all forward," Cr Pisasale said.
"We have really upped the ante with our spending in key areas.
"This budget is without doubt an agent for change."