VINCENT businesses are unlikely to get any more rates freezes from their council to compensate for the privatisation of commercial waste collection.
The City of Vincent pulled out of commercial waste collection in June last year, but softened the blow by offering landowners a $520 rates rebate, with promises of a review of the “financial and services impact” of the privatisation before this year’s budget round.
The review was completed by an external consultant, but not a single question put to 100 business asked them how much extra they were paying for waste collection compared to the old scheme.
But in the broad “do you have any other feedback” section of the survey, many let fly.
“They have given us a rebate of $500pa but the charges are now $1700pa so it is costing us three times as much as before, so the rate freeze is basically irrelevant,” one owner responded.
Another complained of the “massive shift of a very large sum of money” during Covid “just when we needed it most”.
“The landlord has done a little clap,” reported another, who said the move had “just added an additional cost to my operational expenses and another thing I have organised”.
Others pointed to other problems they’d encountered, such as limited recycling options.
“Everybody is now using our bins; they are locked so they dump stuff on top so we have to pick it up and put it in the bin we’re paying for …all in all we’re not too happy,” another respondent noted.
Another who now has only one bin to deal with said it was cheaper, but they were still unhappy about the inability to recycle.
Despite this feedback, a report to this week’s council briefing forum claimed “most businesses have adjusted well to the changes and are happy with their current arrangements.”
The report noted that 19 per cent of businesses had reduced the amount of waste they were generating, while 28 per cent had found services that allowed them to increase how much they recycled.
It also found that the “reported higher costs are more reflective of the fact that the business had previously had multiple bis or collection frequencies under the old council system; a system with [sic] was subsidised by ratepayers.
“… not all businesses have taken advantage of the tailored waste options available to them – particularly those where waste is managed by the landlord or strata company.
“It is not recommended that any further transitional support for commercial ratepayers is required.”
The recommendation will be debated and go to a vote at this Tuesday’s full council meeting.
by STEVE GRANT