Water rates expected to rise

By TOBY WALKER

RATEPAYERS in the Grafton area should expect to pay more for their sewerage and water after the Clarence Valley Council chose to introduce single funds for the services across the Valley.

The first ordinary meeting of council in Maclean yesterday indicated the new councillors would be prepared to debate proposals put before them but the issue of water and sewerage rates was accepted without fuss.

Under the new guidelines, 25 per cent of council's residential water revenue will come from a fixed 'access' charge.

The remaining 75 per cent will come from consumption charges.

Residential ratepayers will pay a uniform sewerage charge while non-residential properties will pay a two-part tariff comprising an annual access charge and a usage charge per kilolitre.

Despite the expected increases in the Grafton area, council be- lieves combined sewerage and water funds would save ratepayers from even larger hikes, a likely scenario had they opted to stick with the old system of individual funds.

Council was given two years to apply the 75 per cent residential water consumption charge but elected to phase it in during the 2005/06 period.

Usage charges for large industrial users, who face rates increases of between 50 and 85 per cent, will be phased in over 2-4 years.

A policy for trade waste fees and charges is yet to be put to council.



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