Vote changes wa­ter ac­cess charges

Coun­cil over­turns pre­vi­ous de­ci­sion

The Northern Star - - NEWS - LIANA TURNER Liana.Turner@north­ern­star.com.au

PROP­ER­TIES with mul­ti­ple oc­cu­pancy in the Bal­lina Shire will have to pay an ad­di­tional wa­ter ac­cess charge from this fi­nan­cial year.

Bal­lina Shire Coun­cil met at an ex­tra­or­di­nary meet­ing to over­turn a mo­tion from the or­di­nary meet­ing on June 28.

Coun­cil­lors voted 6-4 at the or­di­nary meet­ing to re­ject plans to im­ple­ment wa­ter ac­cess charges for sec­ondary dwellings and units.

But mayor David Wright this week used his cast­ing vote to re­scind that de­ci­sion.

Coun­cil­lors then unan­i­mously sup­ported an amend­ment from Cr Ben Smith, which sug­gested they im­ple­ment the charge in stages.

This fi­nan­cial year, prop­er­ties with mul­ti­ple dwellings will con­tinue to pay one $220 wa­ter ac­cess charge, and all ad­di­tional dwellings will pay $110.

That dis­counted rate will ap­ply to sec­ondary dwellings such as granny flats on a block with an­other home, as well as units.

Prop­er­ties un­der strata ti­tle are al­ready re­quired to pay a wa­ter ac­cess charge for each dwelling, so they will not be af­fected by the change.

The coun­cil may in­crease the dis­counted rate to the full $220 next fi­nan­cial year.

Cr Phillip Mee­han, who had pushed for the rescis­sion on the ba­sis of eq­uity, wel­comed the de­ci­sion as “ap­pro­pri­ate”.

Mayor David Wright used his cast­ing vote to push the mo­tion over the line.

Cr Wright said if the change had not gone through, the short­fall would have been picked up by the re­gion’s 14,000 other prop­er­ties.

He said other coun­cils had opted for the same pay­ment method for all res­i­dences.

About 330 prop­er­ties will be af­fected by the change.

Cr Wright said the charge would bring wa­ter ac­cess into line with the pay­ment mod­els the coun­cil al­ready had in place for sew­er­age and garbage.

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