State to query council charges
TOWNSVILLE City Council’s infrastructure charges will be investigated by a State Government taskforce.
Developers and business owners are being forced to look at other cities due to skyrocketing infrastructure charges in Townsville.
The council recently attempted to charge a new business more than 50 times the level of other councils as a contribution to infrastructure such as roads and water.
Main Roads Minister Craig Wallace said the State Government was fielding an increased numbers of complaints from developers.
‘ ‘ Developers don’t mind paying a charge provided it’s fair and just,’’ he said.
‘ ‘ The State Government has given the jurisdiction to levy infrastructure to local councils and works closely with developers to reduce those charges where it can.
‘ ‘ T h e g o v e r n me n t h a s launched a taskforce into the complaints to make sure the level of charges are correct across the state.’’
The latest complaint with the council’s planning department comes from the owners of a commercial building in Thuringowa Cen- tral. The owners are looking to lease the building to a franchise operator of the new national gymnasium group, Snap Fitness.
While the use is consistent with the zoning, planning l aws r equire a material change of use application, triggering a full assessment by the council’s planning department.
The council recently revealed a bill worth more than $ 240,000 at the end of the four-and-a-half month application process.
One of the building’s partowners, Townsville valuer Geoff Eales, took the issue up with the council’s planning department and was later handed a revised figure of $ 141,625.
Engineer Pat Brady was called in to provide an ass e s s ment o f t he c o r r e c t charge.
According to his calculations, the charge should be $ 30,496, minus t he Main Roads contribution.
Mr Wallace urged those involved to come forward.
‘‘ I invite Mr Eales and Mr Brady to contact me as soon as possible and I will personally make sure any issues are investigated,’’ he said.
‘ ‘ R e d u c e d c h a r g e s a r e available to any proposals that may reduce traffic on our roads and all circumstances will be looked at on a case-by-case basis.’’