FUTURE: Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey.
FUTURE: Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey. TAHLIA STEHBENS

Hundreds sign petition for council to reduce rates

IN FEBRUARY this year, members of The Lakes Residents Association submitted a petition to Bundaberg Regional Council in a bid for help to alleviate living costs.

In their letter, residents referred to Mayor Jack Dempsey's visit to their community before his election victory in 2016 where he reportedly referred to the village as a "cash cow" for the Bundaberg Regional Council.

"This factor I am sure contributed to your election as Mayor on March 19, 2016," the petition reads.

"It is extremely pleasing that you are honouring your statement when you addressed our residents in January 2016, prior to your election as Mayor.

"We have a total of 422 residents, at present 381 of which have signed the petition. The remaining 41 residents are either absent from the village or are currently in a care facility.

"All residents welcome your endeavours in assisting us and helping to alleviate the costs of living."

At last week's council meeting the petition was formerly received and noted by council.

Speaking after the meeting, Cr Dempsey said council understood and respected the concerns of residents at The Lakes Village.

"In the lead-up to this year's budget meeting we thoroughly investigated all possible options to give some relief," Cr Dempsey said.

"It was complicated because there are legislative requirements and implications for other community title scheme properties.

"The budget provided a reduction in water access charges for 2807 ratepayers across the Bundaberg region at a cost to council of $190,000 in foregone revenue.

"Despite this we managed to contain the overall increase to the rate of inflation at 1.9 per cent."

Cr Dempsey said council had delivered what the residents had asked for, which was for assistance to alleviate the cost of living by way of reduced water access charges.

As such, all retirement villages, or community title schemes, within the greater Bundaberg region will benefit from the Lakes' petitioner activism, with savings ranging from $21 to $166 per assessment depending on the number of residences in the community title scheme.

A spokesman for The Lakes Residents Association yesterday declined to comment, saying the group was yet to meet to discuss the development.

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