MOVES by Orange City Council to impose a $60 annual charge on ratepayers to cover green waste disposal at the Resource Recovery Centre instead of a user-pays system has been criticised as penny-pinching.
User-pays green waste charges of $51.50 per tonne or $15.50 for a full ute or trailer were debated by councillors last year, with councillor Reg Kidd calling for the proposal to be scrapped.
The new $60 charge per rate assessment will cover the estimated $91,238 the council would forgo without a user-pays system, if adopted as part of the draft operational plan.
Orange Ratepayers Association president Brian Wood said the system was not fair because not all ratepayers dump green waste at the tip.
He said a user-pays system at the gate would be more viable.
“Our rates are the third highest in NSW so we’re definitely against it,” he said.
“People will continue doing what they’re doing now ... either putting green wastes in their garbage bins or mulching it.”
But lawnmowing businesses have welcomed the move, saying a per tonne charge at the tip would force them to pass on the costs to their clients.
Joe Basha from Joe’s Mows said the system would encourage residents to dump their green waste at the recovery centre.
“The average ratepayer is doing council a favour by mowing their median strips so it’s a two-way street, we help council and they help us,” he said.
He said the $60 charge was not exorbitant when divided over a year.
“A lot of ratepayers dump grass and cuttings [at the tip],” he said.
“They could be doing it each fortnight or every week.”
Under the proposed system lawnmowing businesses and residences will be able to dump green waste for free providing they can prove the green waste was produced in the Orange council area.
Mr Basha admitted it would be difficult for council staff at the tip to check the origin of the waste.
Mark Maggs from A Fantabulous Property Service agreed, saying like many professional gardeners he did not give out or receive receipts from clients until the job was paid for, usually with online bank transfer.
Members of the public have the opportunity to comment on the operational plan until the exhibition period closes at 5pm on June 8.