Vote changes water access charges
Council overturns previous decision
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.