Plan to write off $112,000 in fines

South Western Times - - News - Kate Field­ing

Bun­bury city coun­cil­lors have been left to ques­tion what more they can do as they pre­pare to write off more than $112,000 in un­paid fines.

The coun­cil will next week be rec­om­mended to write off $112,533 in out­stand­ing in­fringe­ments from the 2016-17 year.

It is a slight in­crease on the pre­vi­ous year when $109,865 was writ­ten off by the coun­cil.

The big­gest cul­prits are those not pay­ing Dog Act fines with more than $60,000 still owed to the coun­cil from 2016-17, fol­lowed by $41,916 in un­paid park­ing in­fringe­ments.

The re­main­ing out­stand­ing bal­ance in­cludes Cat Act, lit­ter, bush­fire and lo­cal law fines.

Dur­ing a brief­ing ses­sion this week, sev­eral coun­cil­lors ques­tioned what more coun­cil staff and rangers could do.

“Is there any ac­tual fur­ther ac­tion we can take with dog own­ers or cat own­ers, other than po­ten­tially tak­ing their pets away . . . is there any fur­ther ac­tion we can take other than con­tin­u­ally send­ing them debt letters,” Deputy Mayor Jay­sen Miguel asked.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Mal Os­borne told the coun­cil that staff were con­tin­u­ally work­ing with and ed­u­cat­ing the com­mu­nity.

“Our rangers team is al­ways work­ing with pet own­ers to try and make pet own­ers re­spon­si­ble and there’d be less in­fringe­ments to start off with if pet own­ers were re­spon­si­ble,” Mr Os­borne said.

“The ed­u­ca­tion com­po­nent con­tin­ues and that’s not only with an­i­mals, but with all those as­pects of our lo­cal laws.

“If peo­ple do the wrong thing then, not in ev­ery in­stance, but in a lot of in­stances, in­fringe­ments are is­sued as a last re­sort.”

Plan­ning and de­vel­op­ment ser­vices di­rec­tor Gary Barbour said staff were al­ways con­sid­er­ing ed­u­ca­tion op­tions.

“Depend­ing on the is­sues that are com­monly com­ing up as the rangers are do­ing their du­ties, they do look to ed­u­ca­tion cam­paigns,” Mr Barbour said.

“There are cer­tain el­e­ments in the com­mu­nity that it doesn’t mat­ter how much ed­u­ca­tion you do, it will end up in a fines sit­u­a­tion.”

The out­stand­ing fines are fol­lowed up by the Min­istry of Jus­tice Fines En­force­ment Reg­istry.

Pat­ter­son, page 12

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