Although competitively low, residents in Toowoomba are still feeling pain in their wallets.
Although competitively low, residents in Toowoomba are still feeling pain in their wallets.

How your council rates compare to rest of Queensland

TOOWOOMBA residents and business pay the second lowest in rates when compared to seven other councils in Queensland.

The Chronicle analysed the rates bills of eight councils and the results showed Toowoomba residents were faring well.

The Toowoomba council levies the second lowest residential rates at an average of $1,043 for six months.

Among the eight councils, that was second lowest only to Sunshine Coast at $814.15.

Cr Mike Williams chairs the Toowoomba council's finance and business strategy committee and said keeping rates low was a constant challenge.

He said the rates level was related to the council's operational budget.

Cr Williams said the council had capped its operational expenditure.

He said a strong business case needed to be made before the council would agree to extra expenses.

The council is also consistently looking to become more efficient.

Cr Williams gave the example of postage, which he said was increasingly becoming more expensive.

He said the council was considering shifting rates notices to an electronic form in order to save money.

While just an idea at the moment, it's policies like that which can save money, Cr Williams said.

At yesterday's ordinary meeting of council finance and business strategy general manager Arun Pratap noted the council was the first in Queensland to introduce rates payment application Sniip.

While the take-up has been slow in Toowoomba, other councils including Brisbane City Council have since embraced the measure and are actively promoting it. For now BPAY remains the most popular way of paying for rates in Toowoomba.

Another measure to increase efficiency being explored is rolling out technology to its field workers so they are able to access data real time and file reports out of office.

Although competitively low, residents in Toowoomba are still feeling pain in their wallets.

Rebecca Larsen said rates were "exorbitant". "It works out to be $50 a week extra on top of our mortgage.

"We are on septic and tank water. I don't really see how they can justify $50 a week from every home buyer.

"I think they are too high. I don't see the value in them."

Cr Williams said the council was trying to ensure ratepayers got value for money.

"Not everyone uses libraries and pools. But everyone uses council services at some stage."

Business rates levied in Toowoomba are also the second lowest in the region at an average of $1,594.50 for six months (small coffee shop). Cr Williams said the council provided extra services to businesses.

Asked whether the council would increase rates at the next budget, Cr Williams said forward planning showed there would likely be a conservative rise.


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