Following usual practice, Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council on Tuesday night decided on discounts on fees and charges for community-based not-for-profit organisations.
After considerable discussion on rates harmonisation (story page 3) the Council approved its proposed new fees and charges, which included a 50 per cent discount for 18 religious organisations and 30 local sporting and charitable community groups.
There was community concern following social media reports that not-for-profits would be slugged with big fees and charges increases, but mayor Abb McAlister said earlier this week that those concerns had been premature.
The concerns arose because not-for-profits were reclassified in the business category, but Cr McAlister said it was normal procedure for the council to approve annual charges first, then approve discounts.
The charges are for non-residential water access and sewer access and usage, and liquid trade waste.
As well as all churches in Cootamundra and Gundagai, the discounts apply to the Town Tennis Club, the Rugby League Club and others, Elouera Association, the Pre-School Kindergarten, Lions Club, the Health Care Cooperative, the Boy Scouts Association, Ex-Servicemens Club, Red Cross, Showground, Country Club, Retirement Village, Elouera School, the Girl Guides Association, Strikers Soccer, the Squash Association, and CADAS, plus 12 similar not-for-profits in Gundagai.
The only other change to the recommended fees and charges was a reduction of $100 in the residential sewer access charge, from $700 to $600 per annum.
The change, approved unanimously, was proposed by Cr Charlie Sheahan, who said there had been community unrest about rates and charges, and one area where some relief could be provided was access to sewer.
"We can afford it because we have a new subdivision, so there'll be a new source of revenue when those sewer pipes are laid on Boundary Road. Also the liquid trade waste fee, being applied to Cootamundra businesses for the first time, is another source of revenue in this area. Reducing this fee is a way of acknowledging that our community is suffering and people will be feeling the pain of meeting increases."
Cr Graham agreed the reduction could be afforded "even if we miss out on potentially $400,000 income".
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.