Mayor fights for tip users

CLARENCE Valley tip users will soon be paying dumping fees that even the mayor considers are outrageously high.

Most of the fee increase will come as a result of an environmental levy imposed by the State Government, which could result in tip fees of up to $125 a trailer load by 2015.

After the fees were outlined in a Daily Examiner article late last year, the Member for Clarence, Steve Cansdell, posed a number of questions to the Minister for the Environment, Carmel Tebbutt, who said Clarence Valley ratepayers would get an estimated $350,000 of the fees returned for environmental programs.

Clarence Mayor Richie Williamson said fees to the Government would increase by more than $350,000 each year until 2015, when ratepayers would be forking out an extra $2.1 million a year to use a facility that ratepayers paid for, own and maintain. “It is outrageous,” Cr Williamson said.

Next week the mayor will take his concerns to a meeting of the Country Mayors Association and will urge them to object 'as loudly as they possibly can' to the Government's fees.

“We just can't absorb that kind of charge,” he said.

Cr Williamson said local government, and particularly the Clarence Valley Council, was doing a lot for the environment.

“If it is an issue about environmental protection, let us get the $2 million to let us continue to develop our programs,” he said. “But the way this is set up I would be surprised if we got 10 per cent (of the $2.1 million) back.”

It is expected the Clarence Valley Council will get about $350,000 back in the first year of the levy to conduct environmental programs, but that amount is not expected to rise over time.

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