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Council adopts 2020/21 Fees and Charges Schedule

29 June 2020

Southern Downs Regional Council adopted its 2020/21 Fees and Charges Schedule last week with a minimal 2.5% increase in fees.

The increase varies across Council’s individual range of fees and charges but averages to just 2.5% across the board, with some fees and charges also subject to COVID-19 concessions, extensions or suspensions.

Southern Downs Mayor Vic Pennisi said that it had been challenging for Council to balance the real task of delivering services to the community while also minimising the financial impacts to residents and businesses on tight budgets amid drought and COVID-19.

“Due to variations with Council’s previous COVID-19 decision at the Special Council Meeting on 15 May 2020, some fees have already been frozen, suspended or extended,” Mayor Pennisi said.

“In addition to the pandemic fee concessions, Council will also freeze cemetery fees and there will be small increases in other fees and charges to ensure Council can continue to deliver services and maintain community facilities across the region.”

Council has the ability to change fees and charges throughout the year and readopt the Schedule of Fees and Charges.

The Fees and Charges Schedule relates to Council charges such as licences and approvals, development assessments, animal management, cemetery services and pools.

The adopted schedule does not apply to general rates and utility charges.

Last month Council released its COVID-19 Recovery Package which includes a raft of economic initiatives to relieve financial pressure on the community as part of a multi–pronged approach to support the region’s recovery. These included:

·         Refocus the Community Grants Program to COVID-19 recovery actions arising from the recovery plan.

·         Extend the payment period for utility notices until the end of June 2020.

·         Suspension of the Invasive Pest Control levy for 2020/21.

·         Extend the period of time which payment arrangements can be entered into.

·         Waive interest on overdue rates and charges calculated at 30 June 2020.

·         Suspend charging of interest on outstanding rates and charges.

·         Suspend debt recovery activities for all outstanding rates and charges.

·         50% reduction of development assessment fees for any new, extensions to existing, and operational works applications fees for 2020/21.

·         Waive rental accommodation license fees and caravan park permit fees for 2020/21.

·         Waive food license fees for 2020/21.

·         Refund booking fees for community events cancelled as a result of COVID-19.

·         Waive fees for temporary event permits up until 31 December 2020.

·         Fast-track the processing of payment of all invoices.

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