Lord Mayor Graham Quirk has handed down his fifth Brisbane City Council budget, describing it as one “that continues to get things done and deliver for the residents of Brisbane”.
The $2.6 billion 2015-16 budget includes $1.6 million for the ‘City of Lights’ program, which will see spectacular light shows — similar to the ones that were so popular during the G20 summit — return to Brisbane.
The ‘City of Lights’ program is part of a $6.3 million package to beautify the city, which also includes plans to install public artwork on infrastructure and $2.2. million to bring back the city’s public water fountains.
The fountains, at EE McCormick Place at Upper Roma Street, Emma Miller Place at Roma Street, and the Mooney Memorial Fountain at the corner of Queen and Eagle streets, were turned off during last decade’s drought.
“We are now able to bring back the fountains that were an unfortunate casualty of past droughts,” Cr Quirk said.
“Water features in many of Brisbane’s parks and gardens add movement and vibrancy and enhance the amenity of these spaces.”
The budget also includes the $100 million ‘Smoother Suburban Streets’ program, which will target 383 roads in need of repair.
“Our roads have experienced a ‘loss of life’ due to some of the very heavy rainfall events we’ve had in recent years and this investment is part of making Brisbane a connected, accessible city that is easy for people to get around,” Cr Quirk said.
Many of the budget’s other major commitments — including the $80 million Inner City Bypass widening, $11 million worth of improvements to Edward Street, and $6 million to boost Mt Coot-tha tourism — had already been announced in the last few weeks.
An average rates rise of 2.5 per cent was announced — lower than last year’s 3.85 per cent rise, but above the city’s inflation level of 1.4 per cent. The rise takes the average rates bill to $1,322.
General council fees and charges will also rise by 2.5 per cent, except for parking metre costs, which won’t go up at all.
Full pensioners will receive a 40 per cent discount on their rates (capped at $924).
Cr Quirk said rates would have been lower this year if the council budget had not taken a $16.3 million dollar hit from three severe storm events during the past financial year.
Are you looking forward to seeing Brisbane light up again? What do you think of the budget? Have your say in the comments below!