Redland City mayor Karen Williams has abolished tip fees, scrapped plans for the Weinam Creek ferry terminal and set up a taskforce to cut “bureaucratic red tape”.
Cr Williams faced down tough opposition in getting her tip fee request through and said there were still challenges such as the carbon tax but she expected the move to curb illegal dumping.
The fees will be dropped on July 1 for Redland residents.
She said the previous council had introduced the fees without consultation and said the community sanctioned abolishing tip fees when they voted for it at the April local election.
She questioned calls for applying a user-pays system to the tip, when other council utilities such as libraries, were free of charge.
But she acknowledged the move would require "adjusting council priorities" and promised to "find efficiencies to deliver what the community expects … not about raising rates".
Five councillors voted against the mayor's request to scrap tip fees and Division 7 councillor Murray Elliott asked for any decision to be deferred until councillors had discussed the ramifications.
Cr Elliott said he could not support the "dumb idea" as he believed it should be a user-pays system to generate revenue to cover some of the cost of running the tips.
He also said the idea had not been discussed with the community and he believed it would increase local traffic, gate queues, illegal dumping and the amount of rubbish tipped.
However, deputy mayor and Division 8 councillor Alan Beard said the election gave the mayor a mandate to cut tip fees.
Cr Elliott called a point of order and said Cr Beard was wrong to say tip fees were introduced without community consultation and without any corresponding reduction in general rates.
Division 1 councillor Wendy Boglary also voted against axing tip fees and said many residents were unaware the fees would come "off the gates and go on to rates".
"At the moment, the gate fees at Birkdale are about 15 per cent of the total running cost, which comes to about $800,000.
"This decision is going to be costly with increased traffic, waste, staff, and extra charges and that $800,000 will probably go up to $1million or more.
"When you divide that extra $1million between 64,000 ratepayers it comes to $13 straight away on to the utility charge, not rates.
"Why should pensioners who don't use the dump have to subsidise those who do," Cr Boglary said.
Division 2 councillor Craig Ogilvie also opposed the idea and said that every ratepayer currently paid $290 a year to maintain tips whether they went to them or not and this would now go to over $305.The decision on tip fees came after a landmark move by the council to scrap negotiations for a block of land to be used as an offsite car park servicing the Redland Bay ferry terminal.
All councillors, except for Division 7's Murray Elliott, approved the mayor's Weinam Creek plan, a possible precursor to abolishing paid-permit parking as outlined in the interim plan at the ferry terminal.
Her six-point request asked for officer reports on axing paid-permit parking and investigating partnerships with state and private investors.
Cr Williams denied the move was putting planning for the Weinam Creek terminal "back to square one" and said the council was moving forward to find a permanent solution by reviewing all options.
Under her plan, there will be no change to current parking arrangements, which include paid-permit parking, free parking and parking regulated by time limits until the outcome of the officer reports.
However, Cr Eilliott said there had been no interest from the private sector in investing at the terminal to build a multi-storey car park and said the move would take development at Weinam Creek back to "ground zero".
Cr Boglary's request for a three-month time limit on delivery of the officer reports was included in the final decision.
Councillors also voted to overhaul the expenses reimbursement policy and decided to ditch a council jacket for all councillors.
Daily cash advances for councillors travelling overseas on official business will be increased but there will no longer be cash advances for domestic travel, which Division 4 councillor Lance Hewlett questioned.
For the full story, see Friday's Redland Times