Council on track to deliver savings and vision for City open for business

Redland City Council is continuing to deliver better value for money for ratepayers.

Mayor Karen Williams said one year on from the local government election she was honouring commitments to save Redland ratepayers’ dollars through a range of reforms, including a Council restructure last month.

“We are driving reform to deliver value for money. Our target is to keep rate rises at CPI or below,” Cr Williams said. “The CPI has just been announced as 2.5%, which is in line with our own financial planning.”

Cr Williams said while a culture change within Council over the past 12 months had successfully delivered a number of key achievements, there are still a number of challenges ahead.

“All Council staff and Councillors should be proud of what we have achieved over the past year, but we can’t lose focus as there is still more to be done,” she said.

“The Council restructure in March this year saw five departments reduced to three, and the grouping of ‘like’ areas to realise greater efficiencies and services for ratepayers.

“And the first Budget for the new Council last year delivered the lowest rates increase of comparable south east Queensland Councils. We are striving to do the same this year in June when the budget is announced.

“Cost of living pressures like electricity, fuel and groceries continue to rise and I am committed to making sure that in the Redlands any rates increase is no more than CPI so as not to add to that burden.”

During last year’s April election, ratepayers voted for a responsive Council who would listen to their concerns and take the necessary actions.

“We are doing this and achieving results including a greater focus on customer service and quicker turnaround times for Council services.

“Over the past year Council has realigned services to better meet the needs of the community including transitioning out of some services to allow them to be managed by specialist organisations who are more efficient and effective.

“We have also made considerable progress in reducing red tape and streamlining services, including implementing several planning initiatives to attract investment to the region.

“These initiatives include Council’s $1.5 million Cleveland CBD investment incentives package that was launched in March and aims to breathe new life into Cleveland.

“We have much more planned to revitalise areas across the City and will be working hard to bring these to fruition.”

Cr Williams said a continued focus on increasing economic development in the Redlands was one of the biggest challenges for Council moving forward.

“In order to secure the future of the region we need to encourage investment in the area so locals can benefit from a sustainable and vibrant local economy,” she said.

“We have the Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney coming to the Redlands next month (16 May) to show his support for our city’s future economic success – the message is that Redlands is open for business and investment.

“From that comes local jobs, better services, stronger communities and economic stimulation.

“Another priority is providing greater connectivity for our island communities.

“The emergency resilience plans currently being developed for our islands will help in achieving this, as will the introduction of Translink services to the Southern Moreton Bay Islands, starting 1 July 2013.

“We will continue to work with the community to identify and meet additional needs.”

Top five achievements:

1. Efficiency improvements and cost savings including a Council restructure in March 2013 that saw five departments reduced to three, and the grouping of ‘like’ areas to realise greater efficiencies. This will deliver $960,000 in savings for ratepayers.

2. Increased support for local businesses to help attract investment and ensure the economic sustainability of the City, including:

  • the launch of a $1.5 million incentive package to revitalise the Cleveland CBD
  • commencement of CBD redevelopment meetings between Council and business
  • a red tape reduction taskforce to improve Council services and make it easier to do business in the Redlands

3. The lowest rate increase for comparable SEQ Councils, including:

  • A general rates increase of only 0.691%, compared with the previous Council proposal of 4.5%
  • Total rate revenue capped at 1.9%
  • No general rate revenue change for commercial properties

4. A resilient and united response to local storm events including:

  • kerbside collection of 17 km of green waste (one metre high and one metre wide) from more than 3000 local roads and streets following the Australia Day storms
  • the commencement of individual disaster management plans for the Southern Moreton Bay Islands

5. The abolition of gate fees at Council transfer stations.
Key priorities/objectives for the next 12 months include:

1. Attract investment to the Redlands by making it easier to do business and providing incentives.
2. A focus on the development of Toondah Harbour and Weinam Creek Transport Hub.
3. Promote the first class tourism locations within the Redlands.
4. Continue to provide core services in the most efficient method to deliver value to ratepayers.
5. Review Council processes to further improve community and organisational outcomes.
6. Keep rate rises at CPI or below.