Jo Leslie

Waste levy rise is 'rubbish'

BRIAN HYDE couldn't believe his eyes when he opened his annual rates notice last week and saw his waste levy fee had jumped from $5 to $120.

The increase was so large he thought Richmond Valley Council had made a mistake. But a call to the council revealed it was no mistake.

No, the council had not made a mistake, and yes, the waste levy fee paid by residents who had a rubbish collection service available but chose not to use it had jumped from $5 to $120 a year.

“This is outrageous. How can a rise of this magnitude be justified,” said Mr Hyde, who lives on a rural residential lot north of Casino.

“I have just taken a pay cut to keep my job, and now I've been slugged with this increase.

“I live on my own and recycle 80 per cent of my waste, and take a trip to the tip every eight weeks or so to get rid of the rest.

“It seems to me that I'm being penalised because I don't generate enough waste to use a weekly collection service. I would not have worried if the fee had gone up by $40 to $45, but a rise of $115 - I feel as if I've gone one round with a boxer and been KO'd on the chin.

“Maybe instead of taking a pay cut, I should have asked for a raise to pay the council garbage collection fees!”

Mr Hyde is also annoyed because he believes the council did not adequately forewarn the community of the impending increase.

However, council environmental health and regulatory control manager Peter Cotterill said the fee increase was advertised as part of the management plan.

Mr Cotterill acknowledged the increase was steep, but pointed out the fee had been set at $5 for as long as he could remember.

He said the council was forced to reassess its waste service fees across the board in light of new State and Federal legislation, which dramatically increased the cost of providing garbage services.

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