VINCENT council is considering a new system of charging for waste collection which it says could reward those who reduce their rubbish.
The downside for residential ratepayers is that under the model presented to a special council meeting this week, they’d initially face higher charges. Businesses, on the other hand, would have their charges reduced by the corresponding amount — estimated to be around $250,000 a year.
Currently Vincent includes its waste charges in the general rates notice, but wants to split them out and charge a set $250 fee per household.
It’s planning to introduce the charge for residential ratepayers in this year’s budget, although Tuesday’s item was deferred because mayor John Carey says “there’s still too many questions that need clearing up”.
He says councillors wanted the change to be revenue neutral.
But if introduced, Vincent would get an instant $250,000 windfall, as the ledger wouldn’t be balanced until the new system delivers businesses lower charges next year.
The agenda item says that money could be used to investigate waste reduction strategies.
CEO Len Kosova says the changes would affect pensioners, as their concessions only apply to rates and not waste charges.
However, the effect is likely to be minimal because of the state government’s decision to cap the rate rebate at $750.
Mr Carey says it’s been a complicated issue for councillors to grapple with, and they’ve already sat through two briefing sessions to try and nut out the best options.
He says it becomes tricky when setting the rate for businesses, as they have the option of choosing a private contractor if they’re unhappy with the council’s business model.
by STEVE GRANT