The great rates debate: councillors weigh in on raising water, sewer and waste costs

AS the public exhibition period for Orange City Council’s Delivery and Operational Plan for 2014-18 enters its final days, debate continues on whether to raise water, sewerage and waste rates.

Despite remaining silent during budget discussions last month, councillor Reg Kidd has assured ratepayers he will continue to argue against the rises.

Water and sewerage rates are set to climb by 10 per cent and waste by 3 per cent.

“The report recommended exhibition for 28 days and I couldn’t see a problem with the process,” Cr Kidd said.

“I will discuss it with my fellow councillors, as well as what input has come back.

“My concern is other rates and charges are making it tough for people.”

Deputy mayor Chris Gryllis also believed the rates should not rise, however, councillor Kevin Duffy said rates needed to rise to cover costs.

“If it costs ‘x’ amount, that’s what it costs and we have got to make up the balance,” he said.

“There are a number of councillors saying we should vote increases down, but they have the chance to speak out against the rate rises and don’t.”

Cr Duffy said incremental increases were better than putting them off and having to raise charges significantly later on.

Cr Glenn Taylor said he did not agree with rate rises, however the council had to run its water and sewerage utilities at a surplus.

“We’re running at a moderate one at the moment, but it’s not going to take much to blow that out of the water,” he said.

Orange mayor John Davis did not believe councillors were split over the issue.

“To say we should re-look at the budget is disappointing from my point of view, because the councillors in the chamber, in regard to their business paper, haven’t found questions on it,” he said.

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