RATES DEBATE: Mayor Jack Dempsey said the council was the only level of government that spent 100% of its collected revenue for the benefit of its residents.
RATES DEBATE: Mayor Jack Dempsey said the council was the only level of government that spent 100% of its collected revenue for the benefit of its residents. Paul Donaldson BUN091216ROAD4

Ratepayers angry over $50 charge - but what is it?

RATEPAYERS are angry and confused about a $50 community and environment charge showing up on their rates notices.

But the charge is, on average, $136 less than other councils across the state, according to Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey.

Home owners have complained about their recently delivered rates notices with many saying their rates have increased by large amounts.

According to the Bundaberg Regional Council website, the council will raise $2 million each year from the community and environment charge.

The extra funds will be applied to partially finance vital infrastructure and maintenance projects, which may not otherwise have been possible.

Cr Dempsey said the council was the only level of government that spent 100% of its collected revenue for the benefit of its residents.

"The same will apply with the $50 charge,” Cr Dempsey said.

"Councillors are aware that the average charge of this nature across Queensland councils is $186.

"Council quite rightly felt that amounts of this magnitude were too big a burden on local ratepayers and settled for the $50 charge.”

Cr Dempsey said issues of erosion had been identified in a number of locations and work to rectify that and similar problems could be quite expensive.

"This charge is a means of addressing erosion and other environmental issues, which are currently unfunded and which otherwise may result in the diversion of funds from works including roads, drainage, parks etc across our region,” he said.

"Council cannot simply budget for every presumed eventuality and these funds - around $2.1 million - can be applied to grant applications where council is required to supply matching amounts or simply to leverage opportunities as they arise in State or Federal Government initiatives.”

Section 103 of the Local Government Regulation 2012 gives the council the legislative power to raise a "separate charge” - in other words a charge on all ratepayers for a specific purpose.



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