The Eastern Region Mayors Group (ERMG) has written to Premier John Brumby urging the state government to reconsider the magnitude and timing of their recent announcement increasing landfill levies from 2010 and beyond.
Knox Mayor Councillor Joe Cossari said the Mayors of the eastern metropolitan region are deeply concerned about this announcement as it could have significant impact on Councils’ 2010/2011 budgets.
“Councils put a great deal of effort into preparing long-term financial plans to assist responsible planning and management. Significant financial burdens imposed at such short notice greatly impact the ability of Councils to deliver prudent and responsible financial management,” Cr Cossari said.
Councils are in the process of finalising draft budgets for 2010/2011 and are about to take them out to the community for consultation as required by the Local Government Act (1989).
Mayor of Maroondah, Cr Alex Makin, said an increase in landfill levies will impact on rates and charges in 2010/2011.
“Council can confirm that the any increase to landfill levies would need to be accounted for in Maroondah’s 2010/2011 Budget,” Cr Makin said.
“This would likely be covered by a rise in overall municipal rates and charges,” Cr Makin said.
“The exact rise has not yet been determined because of the number of variables coming into play when forming the Budget. However, we should be prepared for an additional rate rise if the State Government is successful in increasing landfill levies,” Cr Makin said.
Cr Cossari said the ERMG supported the increased recycling opportunities that would be created by the levy increase.
“However, we have advised Mr Brumby that there has been no consultation with Councils about this decision, which is most disappointing given that Councils are expected to collect the increased levies as well as implement various components of the program,” Cr Cossari said.
The magnitude and timing of the increase in landfill levies is expected to have a major and critical impact on 2010/2011 Council budgets resulting in significant last minute increases in Council rates and gate fees at Council transfer stations.
“Initial assessments indicate that in some municipalities there will be a need to increase rates by more than one per cent in 2010/2011 to offset the increase, together with significant increases in gate charges at transfer stations,” Cr Cossari said.
The increase in landfill levies for 2010/2011 from $9 per tonne to $30 tonne represents a massive increase of 233% in one year alone.
“The Mayors feel that Councils are being used as a state collection agency and are fearful that they will face the brunt of community backlash for the costs to comply with state decisions,” Cr Cossari said.
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