Tenterfield Shire Council adopted a new operational plan this month, raising rates and charges with the steepest climb in waste management.
Residents will pay 25 per cent more for their wheelie bin service, 25 per cent more for the annual waste management charge and new charges at the waste transfer station, adding a minimum of about $65 to the bill of each household with a wheelie bin.
On top of this, rates will increase for most residents by about eight per cent and water supply charges will also go up by about five per cent.
“It is very unfortunate that we do have to increase some fees and charges, but in today’s climate we don’t have much choice,” mayor Toby Smith said.
Council was given an ultimatum to fix its overloaded waste transfer station in February by the NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) after the EPA found the station was dramatically exceeding its limits.
Then acting general manager for council, Glen Inglis, said council was looking at “megabucks” to address the major waste issues.
Further work by council in conjunction with the EPA led to warnings earlier this year by council that waste charges would increase.
The changes in the operational plan have included new waste transfer station charges, with some vouchers likely to be included in rates notices for ratepayers.
It will no longer be free to take any rubbish to the transfer station, with higher fees for unsorted waste. Residents will be looking at charges ranging from $5 for emptying an unsorted 240L wheelie bin to $22.50 for an unsorted ute of up to one tonne carrying capacity with a trailer.
Proposed increased fees and charges attracted a number of submissions during the operational plan and long-term financial plan’s public exhibition period.
“The assessments are made against land valuations, your comparisons are like comparing watermelons with peanuts,” one submission on the long-term financial plan rate increase model noted.
“It should be noted that in the operational plan that farmland general contributes over half the rate revenue (50.92 per cent). The residential Tenterfield group contributes 21.81 per cent, and the farmland produces the greatest economic boost to the shire.
“The farmland in this shire does not have the same unimproved value as in many other shires.”