ICE COUNCIL voted overwhelmingly this week to approve proposals from the finance committee to increase subscriptions for members, fellows and graduates by 15% in 2006.
The proposals will now have to be ratifi ed by a vote of the full ICE membership, papers for which go out on 21 March.
Council agreed that the subscription rises - equivalent to $51 a year for members - were necessary to underpin the ICE's five year business plan as agreed in December 2004. This budget will enable the ICE to continue its revitalisation programme and assumes the 2006 rise will be followed by further rises of 9% in 2007 and 4.5% in 2008.
'These rises provide the basis for future enhancements and are consistent with the financial plans Council has already approved, ' said ICE finance committee chairman Peter Hansford.
But he pointed out that any increases beyond 2006 would have to be agreed by Council as necessary at the time.
ICE president Colin Clinton emphasised this point. 'I believe in transparency and I agree that members should know what we have planned for the future, ' said Clinton. 'But let's be clear, the ballot is about setting the subscription rates for 2006 only and not beyond.' Hansford presented the proposals alongside other plans to restructure and simplify the ICE's current complex subscription structure.
Under the simplification plans agreed by Council there will be two headline winners after 2006.
Students on non-accredited degree courses will now be offered free membership - a saving of $94 and, the ICE hopes, a major incentive for young professionals outside mainstream civil engineering to join.
Retired members will also benefi by being given a free subscription to New Civil Engineer. The proposal sees their ICE subscription rise in 2006 from $75 to $94 but the $51 magazine fee would be waived.
The proposals will also see a single concession rate of $94 applied for all previously discounted overseas members.
In the UK, the subscription reduction for those living more than 20 miles from Great George Street will also be removed.
Membership ballot packs, including full details of the proposed subscription rates plus an update on the ICE's revitalisation plan, will be sent out on 21 March. All votes must be returned by 21 May.