Water and rates bill may shock Central Highlanders

Mayor Peter Maguire officially opens the estate. Photo Meghan Kidd / CQ News
Mayor Peter Maguire officially opens the estate. Photo Meghan Kidd / CQ News Meghan Kidd EME251113blueridge33

THE dreaded rates notices will be mailed out in droves today and start appearing in letterboxes around the Central Highlands early next week.

Now including six months of water, Mayor Peter Maguire said some people could be in for a shock.

"People may get a bloody shock if they have been wasting water," Cr Maguire said.

"The water charges did go up a bit in the last budget and this is the first time that will be reflected in the rates.

"It will depend on people's usage though."

Councillors discussed rates concession options in the meeting on Wednesday, and it was decided that zero-interest payment plans could possibly be arranged with council for people who struggle to pay.

Cr Maguire said his major concern was that any decision needed to be "fair and consistent".

"You can't give it (a concession) to one group of people and not another," he said.

"It's not just rural people who are struggling, there are small businesses and other people."

During the floods people had a chance to pay over time with no interest and without losing the discount and Cr Maguire said he thought that was a fair concession now as well.

"We've done it before and it worked, it should be for everyone," he said.

Councillor Kevin Pickersgill said any concession would be helpful for the rural sector.

"That would help, absolutely," he said.

"For the rural guys, they are struggling with the drought but also the drop in the prices they are getting," Cr Pickersgill said.

Cr Paul Bell said an arrangement should be made soon for a concession.

"We just need to make an arrangement, and I think they should keep the discount," he said.

Cr Maguire said the next lot of rates notices would also include the Emergency Management, Fire and Rescue (EMFR) Levy.

"The other thing on there is the new emergency management levy that the State Government is doing," he said.

"Council's have to collect that on behalf of the state government and pass it on to them."


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