Council protests cost of election

EXTRA costs to run the local government elections next year have the Bundaberg Regional Council up in arms.

The council allocated $400,000 in this year's Budget to run the elections to be held in March next year.

But the State Government passed a law this year giving the responsibility for holding elections to the Electoral Commission Queensland.

The commission was authorised to recover the costs from the councils.

The catch is that the commission has decided to set up a permanent office in Brisbane to oversee elections, with the state's councils to foot the bill.

The permanent office would run the quadrennial elections and any by-elections, and charge the council for any costs including venue hire, polling booth staff and printing costs.

The commission has told the council its share of the estimated annual $1.28 million cost will be $33,260, plus a one-off set up cost of $16,630.

This will push the cost of next year's elections to $454,833.

At its meeting this week the council agreed to write to Premier Anna Bligh protesting about the imposition of extra costs on ratepayers.

Council governance portfolio spokesman David Batt said before amalgamation all the councils used to run their own elections.

"They've given us a $50,000 bill on top of what we were expecting," he said.

"The costs are going to go on annually, not just this year."

Cr Batt said although the council had no say in the matter, it was still decided to protest to the premier.

"Basically it comes down to a charge on the ratepayers," he said.



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