Rates discount cut delivers profit

A FORMER council employee claims cutting the 10 per cent discount from utilities such as sewerage and water access would deliver a $3.3 million windfall to Bundaberg Regional Council.

The woman, who asked not to be named because of her status as a former employee, said in the brochure sent out with rates notices the council said it would rake in $47.7 million from the charges for sewerage, waste collection and water.

“On average, about 70% of people pay their rates early to get the discount,” she said.

“If you calculate 70% of $47.7 million you get $33.3 million.

“Taking away the discount means the council is $3.3 million ahead.”

She said the council was getting two bites at the cherry by increasing charges and not allowing the discount.

But council CEO Peter Byrne said the council did not back away from that at all.

Under national competition policy, the council's operations had to be assessed to ensure they were financially sustainable.

The assessment found that for the council's business operations to be sustainable, they had to significantly increase revenue.

“By taking the discount off, we did raise revenue,” he said.

“We are still not meeting our targets but we are on track to do so.”

Mr Byrne said the $3.3 million would be spread across the three council businesses of water supply, sewerage and waste collection, and they would return on equity 9% into the general rates revenue.

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