City residents relieved over rate rise news

AN average increase in rates of 5.74 per cent for Ipswich residents - or $2.37 a week - must come as a relief after a rise of between 7 and 10 per cent was tipped earlier this year.

Excluding water, the rise is 99 cents a week - up by 3.29 per cent.

Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale said in his 2009/10 budget speech on Tuesday that he had managed to improve services and slash between $15 million and $20 million off operational costs.

Key aspects of the budget include a rapid bus public transport study (see page 32), $96.6 million in works and water infrastructure, and major enhancements to parks and conservation areas.

Cr Pisasale said the council would continue to focus on generating jobs, masterplanned communities and the preservation of heritage and education.

“The city is now the fastest-growing in the state and this record budget of $512 million reflects our desire to meet the demands of growth,” he said.

Ipswich's population grows each week by about 152 people.

Key projects in the coming 12 months include:

• detailed planning for a new traffic and pedestrian crossing of the Bremer River linking Norman and Jacaranda Streets - $250,000;

• upgrade of Edwards Street and Whitehill Road intersection - $2.3 million;

• start of construction of the expected $10 million Kerners Road deviation - $3 million this year;

• safety upgrades for Jones Road, Bellbird Park - $1 million.

In total, capital expenditure will be $48.8 million.

Ipswich civic hall will receive a major $450,000 upgrade to the upstairs outdoor area, with new shade sails and extended catering options.

The federal government is contributing to the upgrade.

“This budget will continue to keep people as the central point of our decision making,” Cr Pisasale said.

“We have been overwhelmed with constant bad financial and economic forecasts, while Ipswich has created a steady flow of positive growth.”

Program gives motoring independence to young drivers

Program gives motoring independence to young drivers

The PCYC is helping young drivers get their licence

How you can bring a smile to a child in need

How you can bring a smile to a child in need

Presents needed for kids living in care

Busy shopping hub welcomes another new retailer

Busy shopping hub welcomes another new retailer

Company opens its third store in growing region