Closing councillor offices to save ratepayers millions

DIVISIONAL offices formerly occupied by Ipswich councillors will be closed and replaced with three new hubs to save ratepayers $2 million each year.

The future of ten divisional offices has been under a cloud since councillors were sacked.

The council will close the offices and replace them with three Ipswich City Council customer service centres at Springfield Central, Rosewood and Ipswich Central.

The new centres will allow residents and ratepayers to pay bills, submit paperwork, lodge complaints and engage with council officers.

Council CEO David Farmer said the closure of the former divisional offices would save ratepayers about $2 million annually.

"It's a good amount of money which, instead of being used to fund council administrative costs... can now be injected directly into the community in areas of real need," he said.

How the money will be spent will be guided by the council's new 99-person community reference groups.

The three new customer service hubs will ultimately be integrated within the city's three main libraries - the newly-opened Springfield Central Library, the soon-to-be-built Rosewood Library and the library planned for a new council administration building constructed in Nicholas St by 2021.

"Until then, we'll be refurbishing the existing John Street, Rosewood facility to become a library hub and interim customer service centre," Mr Farmer said.

Interim administrator Greg Chemello said new councillors would be given the appropriate resources to be flexible in their engagement with the community.

"(It) is the right way to go, regardless of how the council's electoral divisional arrangements are configured by the State Government," he said.

"Foot traffic is very low to existing divisional offices, but we expect that with the addition of a one-stop shop for council-related business, the new customer service centres will be well patronised."

Groups who used offices as meeting hubs are being assisted to find alternative meeting venues.

Staff will be offered redeployment in other areas of the council.



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