Money down the drain: Millthorpe residents to carry cost of sewerage works

IT STINKS: Millthorpe resident Lyn Plummer currently pays for two sewer connections and is struggling to afford them as sewerage rates skyrocket.  Photo: LUKE SCHUYLER  0509lesewer2

IT STINKS: Millthorpe resident Lyn Plummer currently pays for two sewer connections and is struggling to afford them as sewerage rates skyrocket. Photo: LUKE SCHUYLER 0509lesewer2

MILLTHORPE residents were expecting their sewerage rates to go down this year, but instead, they are expected to skyrocket.

Millthorpe Village Committee president John Mason said the committee had understood the capital cost of the new system would be paid off in 10 years.

But instead, rates of $788 a year will increase to $1073 by the 2017/2018 financial year, meaning Millthorpe residents will pay 60 per cent more than those in other parts of Blayney.

"We were meant to go back to the same level as the people of Blayney - they said 10 years and now it's 20," he said.

"The latest is that it will be 2023/2024 when we start paying those rates."

For resident Lyn Plummer, whose husband John died in June last year, affording a double block with two sewerage connection points has become a challenge.

"I pay $788 for the sewer point I use, and $701 for the one I'm not using and that's preposterous," she said.

She said a neighbour who had 14 connection sewer points had been forced to subdivide to keep his sewerage rates down.

With her total bill to the council adding up to more than $3000 this financial year, she said she might have to consider similar measures or sell completely.

"It's a property my husband adored and it makes me agitated to know I might have to sell the block to survive," she said.

"I'm getting by on the smell of an oily rag."

Blayney mayor Scott Ferguson also said he originally thought the extra costs were only for a 10-year period, but council had taken a 20-year fixed loan to pay for the sewerage system.

"But we are going to revise the length of that loan - it needs to be completely re-looked at," he said. 

"We will engage the community so everybody knows what's going on."

Cr Ferguson said the extra funds would maintain the system as demand on it grew, but advised residents struggling to afford more than one connection they could consolidate their lots to ensure they paid for only one connection.

Blayney Shire Council is also considering raising residential rates by 6 per cent for the next two years in order to cover infrastructure costs.

To comment, email council@blayney.nsw.gov.au or write to the general manager, Blayney Shire Council, PO Box 62, Blayney 2799.

danielle.cetinski@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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