There were moments of tension after Redland City Council mayor Karen Williams presented her $259million budget to her 10 councillors for approval on Thursday morning.
Before the “Back to Basics” budget could be approved, there was an air of suspense as councillors debated a three-year plan for the city’s Redwaste business.
Without approval for that strategy, the budget could not be fully implemented.
Murray Elliott, Wendy Boglary, Craig Ogilvie, Paul Gleeson, Paul Bishop eventually voted against the plan, which includes $1.2million in capital works funded largely by a $1.3million transfer from constrained capital reserves.
Under the plan, utility charges will increase $7.50 a quarter, or an annual $30, of which the council claims $3.25 is due to the carbon tax.
Cr Murray (Div 7) was the main opponent and said abolishing gate fees meant the council was moving away from a user-pays system and creating a greater carbon tax burden for all ratepayers.
However, three of the councillors opposing the Redwaste strategy backed the mayor’s budget plan and it was finally passed nine votes to two.
Cr Ogilvie (Div 2) and Cr Elliott voted against the budget.
Cr Ogilvie said he did not believe the council had “tightened its belt” as operating revenue rose from a projected $211million last year to $222million this year.
He said the council had been lucky and was able to deliver an election promise of capping rates to CPI.
He said it was made possible because water revenue rose from $17million to $34million with the return of Redland Water assets not because the council had “found savings”.
“The rise in water charges is going to make people look at our water income and they are quickly going to suspect we are making a motza and will rightfully ask questions,” Cr Ogilvie said.
Cr Elliott said he opposed the budget because it misled the public and said the 1.91per cent average rating increase did not equate to CPI, which Cr Williams had promised to cap rates rises at.
He said his rate increase at Alexandra Hills was 5.4 per cent and not 1.91 per cent and Capalaba residents would have a 5.6 per cent increase on their rates, excluding water and sewerage.
“There are big reductions in Raby Bay and big increases in Alexandra Hills, Capalaba and Mount Cotton,” he said.