FEES ANNOUNCED: The council is reinstating its waste dumping fees, but the charges have been frozen for the upcoming financial year.
FEES ANNOUNCED: The council is reinstating its waste dumping fees, but the charges have been frozen for the upcoming financial year.

Dumping fees piling back on for rural council

WITH the official budget meeting set for next week, Somerset Regional Council has finalised its schedule of cost-recovery fees for the 2020-21 financial year.

Many council services come with associated fees to recoup costs to the council, such as dumping rubbish, removing an abandoned vehicle, caring for an animal at the pound, digging graves, and much more.

The slew of disasters that has impacted the region in recent months has meant some of these fees have been relaxed or reduced.

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Among the changes is a special extension to dog registrations, which will not need to be renewed this year.

All current registrations will now remain valid until June 30, 2021.

The CEO will also have the discretionary power to waive certain fees to aid those impacted by recent disasters such as bushfires or Covid-19.

One fee that was waived during the coronavirus lockdowns will be making a comeback, with plans to reinstate waste charges at the council’s refuse and recycling centres from July 1.

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Mayor Graeme Lehmann said the fees had been temporarily suspended to eliminate the risk posed by cash handling and other contact at dumping sites.

“We’ve implemented a range of safety measures at each site to adhere to social distancing guidelines,” Cr Lehmann said.

“Eftpos services are now available at the Esk Refuse and Recycling Centre and Landfill site. “Further, council will be freezing its waste charges for the upcoming financial year.”

This means the dumping charges will remain unchanged from the current values.

Director of finance Geoffrey Smith noted the cost-recovery fees were not set in stone and could be changed at the council’s discretion.

“Unlike rates, these commercial charges can be addressed at any point,” he said.

“You can change every single one of these at every single meeting.”

The council’s rates can only be set during a budget meeting, which this year will take place on Wednesday, June 10.

The full 2019-20 cost-recovery fees are in effect until June 30 and are available here, while the draft outline of fees agreed upon by the council for the 2020-21 financial year can be viewed via this link.