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Author Topic: BCC Budget  (Read 1709 times)

Offline ozbob

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BCC Budget
« on: June 20, 2012, 01:17:40 PM »
From the Brisbanetimes click here!

Brisbane rates to rise a dollar a week

Quote
Brisbane rates to rise a dollar a week
June 20, 2012 - 11:00AM

Brisbane residents will pay $1.05 a week more for rates as a result of a 4.5 per cent average increase detailed in the city's $3.1 billion budget handed down today.

The figures include a 0.7 per cent one-off CPI increase and 1.9 per cent for the carbon tax, Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said today.

The 4.5 per cent rise will leave ratepayers an extra $13.63 out of pocket per quarter, or $1.05 a week, but the remission ceilings for pensioners have been raised to help soften the blow, jumping from $800 to $836 for full pensioners, spread over 48,000 properties.

Despite warnings from the federal government not to blame the anticipated rates rise on the carbon tax that comes into effect from July 1, the lord mayor said the tax would contribute $15.8 million to council's cost, through "green tape", inflation, human resourcing and landfill charges in the coming financial year.

Cr Quirk outlined other considerable shortfalls associated with flood recovery, forecasting more than $100 million of council's $400 million flood recovery bill would have come from the council's bottom line.

Council will spend an additional $88 million on flood recovery works this year, including $48 million on road repairs, adding to the $164 million on flood recovery works to date.

Despite the outgoing costs, council aims to save $41 million over the next year, helped by a $1.3 billion investment strategy expected to deliver a $6 million dividend this year which would help cover council's ballooning borrowings program.

Net debt has increased to $1.99 billion against $19.8 billion in assets, with the bulk of borrowings going to the $1.5 billion Legacy Way - formerly Northern Link - and other major infrastructure projects outlined in the lead-up to the local government elections.

New infrastructure spending includes $1.24 billion for roads and bikeways, $500 million for public transport and investment, $20 million for the Shorncliffe Pier upgrade and $210 million to keep Brisbane clean and green concentrated on new cleaning equipment, maintenance and graffiti enforcement.

"But we are also looking after our local roads as well with an unprecedented $108 million on suburban road resurfacing along with other major road upgrades," Cr Quirk said.

There is also money for major suburban road upgrades including $8.5 million to start work on the $70 million second stage of the Kingsford Smith Drive upgrade, $11 million for Inala and King Avenue in Willawong, and $10.5 million for major intersections around the city.

But the lord mayor said the plan also included forecasts for 343,000 new jobs in Brisbane within the next decade, largely focused in the resources sector, which would see Brisbane double its economy to $217 billion by 2032.

He said the Lord Mayor's Economic Development Steering Committee would help facilitate the growth through a suite of initiatives valued at $15.9 million, including $830,000 to the Brisbane ambassadors program, $2 million to market Brisbane as an events destination and $1 million for the "jobs-driven" digital strategy focused on small- to medium-sized business owners to improve competitiveness.

Other budget highlights:

    $3.6 million to the new city plan over the next two years to account for population growth and new jobs;

    $7 million for the Vibrant Laneways program which includes updating current laneways and beginning works on new ones including Hudson and Eagle lanes in the CBD;

    $3.6 million for 45 local parks upgrades, including new parks at Milton and Tennyson;

    $42 million to build the first 90 of 360 new air-conditioned and wheel-chair accessible buses;

    $1 million to start construction on Milton's new CityCat terminal; and

    $200,000 for Brisbane's first free inner-city ferry loop, known as the Brisbane Hopper.


Read more: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/brisbane-rates-to-rise-a-dollar-a-week-20120620-20n1y.html
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Offline ozbob

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Re: BCC Budget
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2012, 02:36:41 AM »
From the Couriermail click here!

Brisbane's growth suburbs bear brunt of rising rates under City Hall budget

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Brisbane's growth suburbs bear brunt of rising rates under City Hall budget

    by: Sarah Vogler and Andrew Macdonald
    From: The Courier-Mail
    June 21, 2012 12:00AM

SOME of Brisbane's emerging property hotspots will bear the brunt of rates increases under City Hall's 2012-13 budget, handed down yesterday.

Enoggera, Wavell Heights, Wooloowin, Virginia, Geebung, Mitchelton, Banyo and Keperra are among some of the suburbs where the average rates bill will increase by more than 7 per cent from July, up to $105.56 more a year.

Some will get a reprieve, however, following a drop in land valuations, including the blue chip Hamilton, Ascot and St Lucia, where rates will drop by an average of between $24 and $115 a year in 2012-13.

Wilston residents will save $7.33 or 14 cents a week.

The average Karawatha rates bill will rise by more than 8 per cent, but council maintains individual home owners will pay no more than the cap of 7.5 per cent.

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said the average rates bill across the city would rise by about 4.49 per cent or $54 a year. That includes a 1.9 per cent increase attributed to the carbon tax  a point that will be illustrated on rates bills.

Fees and charges will also rise by 4.5 per cent, but parking fines will remain unchanged, a council spokesman said.

About $194 million will be spent on public transport infrastructure and more than $210 million on cleaning, maintenance and ``green initiatives''.

Ratepayers will fork out $2.8 million for the controversial CityCycle scheme.

Tunnel borrowings will also help increase net debt from an estimated $1305 per ratepayer last year to $1790 per ratepayer for 2012-13.

But Cr Quirk maintained the borrowings were about tackling one of the city's biggest problems  traffic congestion.

"We are building for the future, and debt is debt about the future of Brisbane,'' he said. ``It's not debt to keep the lights on, to keep the running cost of this council going.''

About $108 million will be spent on road resurfacing and $137 million for parks, including $10 million to build parks at the Milton tennis centre site and at Tennyson.

A new chief digital officer will be funded as part of a $15.9 million spend on economic development initiatives.

"There's no unexpected nasties,'' Cr Quirk said.

"I have worked very hard to make sure that we have delivered a budget which again is in a climate where both business and individuals are doing it tough out there.''

Opposition Leader Milton Dick accused Cr Quirk of not doing enough to help ratepayers cope with the cost of living.

"A matter of weeks after Graham Quirk received the overwhelming support of Brisbane residents, they have had a slap in the face today,'' Cr Dick said.

Geebung resident Tony Kewley said the rate increases added to rising cost pressures.
Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan accused the Lord Mayor of using the carbon tax to hide financial mismanagement.

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Offline ozbob

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Re: BCC Budget
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2012, 02:39:27 AM »
From the Couriermail click here!

Tunnel job chews up Kingsford Smith cash

Quote
Tunnel job chews up Kingsford Smith cash

    by: Andrew Macdonald
    From: The Courier-Mail
    June 21, 2012 12:00AM

BRISBANE City Council has committed a further $8.5 million to the delayed upgrade of Kingsford Smith Drive while deferring major expenditure on the project until 2015.

Forecasts contained in this year's budget papers revealed council will allocate $1.4 billion  almost half of its $3.1 billion overall spending  to transport and infrastructure.

A big chunk of the money will be swallowed by the ongoing Legacy Way tunnel project, which will receive $465 million.

The Clem7 tunnel and the Go Between bridge will cost ratepayers $30 million and  $34 million respectively, with the latter expected to generate revenue of $14 million.

Despite forecasting a 2012-13 allocation of $2 million for the Kingsford Smith Drive project in last year's budget, Lord Mayor Graham Quirk yesterday boosted the upgrade, announcing $8.5 million for the beginning of stage two.

But after delays due to a lack of federal funding, major council spending  including a flagged $23 million in 2013-14 and $27 million in 2014-15  has been deferred to 2015-16, when it was expected $50 million will be pumped into the project.

Reduced amounts of $2 million and $10 million were now expected to be allocated in the next two budgets.

The improvements to the busy riverside arterial road have previously been described as council's next priority after the Legacy Way tunnel. Stage one of the three-stage Kingsford Smith upgrade is complete and $1.5 million was allocated in last year's BCC budget for a planning study for stage two.

Elsewhere in the budget, $47.2 million has been allocated to the removal of level crossings at Geebung and Bracken Ridge, while $12 million will go to upgrading intersections at West Chermside and Inala.
In the wake of an election promise to expand the city's bikeways, $27 million will go towards improvements as part of a $120 million commitment over the next four years.

Public transport will also receive a boost, with $42 million to go towards 90 new buses and $1 million towards work on a new CityCat terminal in Milton.

A combined total of more than $18 million will also be used to improve disabled access to Brisbane bus and ferry stops, while funding has been allocated for the establishment of a free city ferry loop.

Opposition Leader Milton Dick criticised a 24 per cent funding cut from local area traffic calming measures.

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Offline ozbob

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Re: BCC Budget
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2012, 03:03:55 AM »
From Brisbanetimes click here!

Opposition blasts Quirk's budget

Quote
Opposition blasts Quirk's budget
June 20, 2012 - 7:40PM

It may be the lord mayor's “financially responsible” budget, but opposition leader Milton Dick has slammed Graham Quirk's LNP council for blowing out the city's debt level while raising the cost of rates and charges.

At this morning's budget lock-up, finance chairman Julian Simmons revealed Brisbane City Council's net borrowings would increase to $1.99 billion by the end of 2012-13, a per capita debt of $1790.

Cr Simmons said the debt burden was due to spending on Legacy Way and a loans and bikeways program and described it as “responsible” when considered against a budget valued at $3.1 billion and a suite of assets worth over $19 billion.
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But budget papers reveal council's gross debt grew $19 million more than expected in last year's forward estimates, with a rise of $467 million projected for 2012-13.

Cr Dick said the $2.1 billion total debt equated to $2.65 million in weekly debt repayments, which was money that could have been better spent.

“At the same time as he's increasing debt, the lord mayor has cut $2 million from libraries and slashed 24 per cent of funding from local area traffic management plans which ease traffic congestion and improve safety in suburban streets,” he said.

“We're also seeing increases in rates and charges around three times the rates of inflation there's no relief for families in this budget.”

Cr Simmons said the second biggest challenge to the budget, beyond the ongoing $400 million flood recovery project, was confronting the lingering effects of the global financial crisis.

“We know that businesses are doing it tough, we're very conscious of the fact that households are facing living increases,” he said.

“We are are borrowing to deliver infrastructure for our city which creates jobs and stimulates growth, not just to keep the lights on.”

Queensland Property Council executive director Kathy MacDermott said local business and property owners should be happy with the result of the budget, despite the average rate rise of 4.49 per cent for both the residential and commercial sector.

Despite flow-on effects from the new $1268.43 average annual rates bill, Ms MacDermott said rising costs in development would be offset by various council initiatives wrapped up in a capital program boosted to $1.3 billion from $1.1 billion last year.

“We would say the budget seems sound, steady and sensible,” she said.

“The property industry welcomes the investment in economic development because any time we can make the environment here more competitive and compete against interstate that benefits the wider community.”

Cr Dick will make his formal budget response this Friday.

Read more: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/opposition-blasts-quirks-budget-20120620-20nsb.html
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Offline ozbob

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Re: BCC Budget
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2012, 05:52:17 AM »
From the Brisbanetimes click here!

Free ride ferries to cost $6 million

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Free ride ferries to cost $6 million
June 21, 2012 - 3:00AM

Some of Brisbane's single hull inner-city ferries will be renamed 'City Hoppers' and run free of charge from July 1, yesterday's Brisbane City Council budget revealed.

Lord mayor Graham Quirk, who flagged the program during the April election campaign, said the City Hoppers were geared towards tourist visiting Brisbane.

"That's the three mono-hull ferries that will run up and down the river and I think it will be a welcome addition to the city," he said.

"Again it will show we are a friendly city to tourists."

The 2012-13 budget allocated $200,000, which would largely let the three ferries be painted red and re-branded as City Hopper services.

Overall the move will cost the council $6 million over four years from its $34.7 million budget for ferry operating costs.

Other public transport announcements in the budget included a new CityCat terminal at Milton ($5 million over four years) and a new "Maroon" CityGlider ($9 million over four years), linking Paddington and Stones Corner.

The council has also set aside $1.4 million for its proposed cross-river bus link to tackle congestion on the Victoria Bridge.

In December 2011, Cr Quirk put forward an option for a "Suburbs 2 City" bus link after brisbanetimes.com.au highlighted major problems with buses banking up over the Victoria Bridge.

Cr Quirk in December proposed a 3.6 kilometre bus-only link between South Bank and Fortitude Valley, comprising two sections; a new bus-only link from Melbourne Street across the river to Adelaide Street.

It would run over the Riverside Expressway, under Adelaide Street, link to the existing busway network and come back to the on-street level at the intersection of Wickham and Ann Streets.

The feasibility study will take about 18 months to complete. Funding will be requested from state and federal governments once a proposal concept firms.


Read more: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/free-ride-ferries-to-cost-6-million-20120620-20o4n.html
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Offline ozbob

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Re: BCC Budget
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2012, 03:48:11 PM »
From the Brisbanetimes click here!

Budget ignores cost of living concerns: Labor

Quote
Budget ignores cost of living concerns: Labor
June 22, 2012 - 2:05PM

Council opposition leader Milton Dick has noted swelling debt, botched bicycle programs, planning holes, transport woes and no favours for small business and struggling families in his response to lord mayor Graham Quirk's Wednesday budget.

Cr Dick said Cr Quirk had forgotten the people of Brisbane in the $3.1 billion budget, with an average rates rise of 4.45 per cent, which he said was the first of many as the LNP administration built "unsustainable, intergenerational debt".

He said the lord mayor had not mentioned "cost of living" once during his budget speech and then referenced Peter Costello's state government commission of audit report, saying if the same methodology was applied to council's debt to revenue ratio the figure would stand at 105 per cent.
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"That's 45 per cent higher than what Peter Costello says is prudent," Cr Dick said.

"In fact the lord mayor's budgeting for his debt to blow-out even more next year, with the net debt ratio jumping to 106 per cent."

In response, finance chairman Julian Simmonds said the administration had always been upfront about the jump in borrowing, which accounted for a $1.4 billion infrastructure program spanning $495 million for the Legacy Way tunnel and a $194 million public transport spend.

But Cr Dick said $2.8 million of that would be "wasted" on the CityCycle program, which had already cost ratepayers $8 million, with another $2.55 million to go on a Maroon Cityglider service that would only duplicate existing high-frequency BUZ bus services.

Cr Dick said Cr Quirk had also significantly cut council contribution to the cost of operating buses as part of the state government deal that saw the council agree to fund existing services and replace bus services when a vehicle was retired, while the state government funded the cost of putting new buses on the road.

He said, in 2004-05, the council's subsidy to pay for the cost of running the buses sat about 48.9 per cent, but had dropped to 30 per cent in this budget despite an apparent increase in funding.

"Clearly he just isn't interested in delivering this important public transport infrastructure," Cr Dick said.

"But it's a job that needs to be done."

Funding for traffic calming and congestion had also been cut, according to Cr Dick, who said rat runners would flourish with $500,000 slashed from the traffic calming budget, while money for projects included in former lord mayor Campbell Newman's Road Action Plan, such as the Wynnum Road upgrade from Shafston Avenue to Riding Road, had been pushed back to another budget year.

"While these projects remain on the ever growing 'to do' list, this lord mayor would have us believe there are savings in the Road Action Plan of $113.9 million," he said.

"He proudly proclaims these savings have been able to be redirected to the City Hall program.

"The sad truth is projects like the Wynnum Road and Kingsford Smith Drive upgrades have not been done because of this administration's inability to manage its finances."

Deputy mayor Adrian Schrinner said the $8.5 million for Kingsford Smith Drive in this year's budget was for further land acquisitions necessary for the $70 million second stage to progress, though there was no exact start date for the start of construction.

"We've been clear in our message that Kingsford Smith Drive is our next priority after the completion of Legacy Way," Cr Schrinner said.

"The $70 million we have allocated in this year's budget over the next four years supports that commitment."

However, Cr Dick questioned the council's commitment to effective planning, saying $2 million in funding for the overdue City Centre Masterplan had been cut leaving development in Brisbane's city heart to be guided by standards from 2006.

He said there were no new neighbourhood plans in the budget either, with only six of the 19 neighbourhood plans outlined in the 2008-2012 corporate plan yet to be completed.

"If this council is serious about support for economic development it has to lift its game when it comes to supporting developments for our city," Cr Dick said.

"In fact, a short time ago the lord mayor released his economic development plan ... and how does council propose to support this growth? By hiring a chief Tweeter [a reference to the new digital officer]; with help like that I'd be surprised if many of Brisbane's small businesses survived the next decade.

"I come from a small business background with my parents being involved with small business for almost 40 years and instead of hiring a chief Tweeter, we should look for ideas to relieve the cost of doing business with council and hiring a chief red tape buster."

Neighbourhood planning chairman Amanda Cooper said the administration was committed to delivering the outstanding neighbourhood plans, with money allocated to two in this year's budget though the locations had not yet been decided.

"[Our plans] allow Brisbane to grow while protecting tin and timber by putting sustainable development close to the CBD, transport corridors and economic hubs," Cr Cooper said.

Councillors will engage in budget information sessions of three hours each until Wednesday next week, when the budget in detail will be presented at chambers before being passed after debate.

Read more: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/budget-ignores-cost-of-living-concerns-labor-20120622-20sjg.html
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