Council’s 2015-16 Budget provides residents with cost-of-living reprieve

Redland City Council’s 2015-16 Budget will provide a cost-of-living reprieve for residents, with an average rates increase of just 0.5per cent for a typical household, including all water and utilities charges.

Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said under this year’s $275 million Budget a typical Redlands’ household with a property value of $280,000 would see a rates increase equating to about 31 cents a week.

“I am very proud to be able to deliver another Budget that truly provides for our residents, retaining the services and projects needed to take our city forward while keeping cost increases down,” she said.

“This is a great result for our community and while some residents’ rates may be  impacted by a change in State Government property valuations, this is outside Council’s control and we have done everything in our power to again keep rates increases low for the fourth straight budget.

“Our modest rates increase is less than half that of some neighbouring councils such as the Gold Coast (1 per cent average rates rise) and Brisbane (2.5 per cent average rates rise).

“Council has achieved this modest rates increase despite facing a 4 per cent rise in operating costs, mainly due to State Government bulk water increases. We have again put residents first by absorbing these external costs rather than passing them onto residents.

“Council has offset the State Government’s 10 per cent bulk water price increase by reducing the Council-controlled retail component by 30 per cent, saving residents from a massive water price hike and resulting in the Redlands continuing to have some of the cheapest water in South East Queensland.

“This Budget also provides the foundations for a strong financial future for the city, predicting a surplus of $106,000.  This continues our strong financial performance over the previous two years, which resulted in the first surplus in more than a decade in 2013-14 and a predicted surplus this financial year.

“And we have not forgotten our pensioners who will benefit from $2.8 million in rebates, with a full discount of $330.”9951 Budget infographic BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS
Cr Williams said that despite battling external cost pressures and reduced funding from other levels of government; Council had increased its total revenue (headline rate) by just 1.99 per cent.

“What is even more pleasing is that 1.94 per cent – or almost all of Council’s increased revenue – will come from growth in our city, with only 0.05 per cent from existing ratepayers,” she said.

“Obviously there is always a balancing act when it comes to growth and providing the infrastructure to accommodate it, but this is an example of how controlled growth can actually be good for the future of the city.”

Cr Williams said the Budget predicted debt would continue to fall, saving ratepayers money and freeing up funds for projects in local neighbourhoods as part of Council’s $78 million capital program.

“Council debt has been more than halved over the last 10 years, meaning less for residents to pay back in interest repayments and more to be spent on projects to benefit future generations of Redlanders,” she said.

“This year’s capital program includes $21 million for congestion-busting road, transport and pedestrian upgrades; making it safer, smoother and faster for residents to get around the city.

“This includes reconstruction of Banfield Lane, Capalaba, and investing in the future of roads that cross our border into Brisbane by funding a cross-border transport study, which will include planning for the future of Rickertts Rd and State-controlled roads.

“The Redlands environment will get a $20 million boost through wastewater, storm water and the upgrade of the Birkdale transfer station.  As a city of islands our wastewater and water treatment capacity is very important to maintaining water quality in our creeks and the bay.

“This is in addition to $11.5 million in operational funding to strengthen the Redlands’ environment, including planting approximately 60,000 trees across the city, providing homes for our wildlife.

“The Redlands’ reputation as a city of islands will also be enhanced, with $19 million committed to marine and foreshore infrastructure including the long-awaited $5 million Macleay Island car park and foreshore upgrade.

“The open spaces and parks Redlanders love so much will receive $8.5 million for upgrades, including $1 million for the Cleveland Aquatic Centre and $600,000 for the Weinam Creek wetland park.”

Highlights of the 2015-16 Budget include:

  • A typical Redland household (category 1A owner-occupied property with a property value of about $280,000) will see a modest increase of just 0.5% – about 31 cents a week including all water costs, rates and utility charges.
  • A headline rate (Council total revenue) increase of just 1.99 per cent, lower than Brisbane’s CPI (2.60%) and the Redland City Council blended CPI (2.74%) at September 2014.  The majority (1.94%) of this additional revenue will be provided through growth to the city, with only 0.05% as a result of price increases for existing residents.
  • A 0.46 per cent decrease in water costs excluding wastewater for an average water user consuming 200kl of water per year.  This is despite a 10 per cent increase in State Government bulk water costs.
  • More than $30 million boost for the environment, including $20 million in water, waste water and transfer station upgrades and $11.65 million in operational spending.
  • A predicted surplus of $106,000.
  • $2.8 million in rates rebates for pensioners, with part or full pension discounts of up to $330.
  • Capital program of $78 million.

Visit Council’s website for a full Budget breakdown.

To see what the Budget means for residents go to our Budget Highlights Info graphics