Southside Sewerage issue

Sorensen Rd residents affected upcoming sewerage connection fees - on their side of the street only. 407585_01

The Editor

Gympie Today

Letter to the Editor Gympie Today re Southside Sewerage Project

We are rate payers on Gympie Southside in the localities that are currently being sewered by the Gympie Regional Council and we will be paying the Council’s newly introduced Benefited Area Levy. This levy was detailed by Gympie Today’s Senior Journalist Arthur Gorrie in Friday’s Edition of the paper dated 17th May 2024 on page 5 and titled “Wrong side of the track”.

This levy will be in addition to the increase in rates that ratepayers on the South Side of the Benefited Area Levy will pay once they are connected to the main sewerage system that is currently being constructed by the Council’s appointed Contractor’s Offaly Civil. This levy has not been applied to any previous ratepayer in the Gympie Regional Council Area once they have had the sewerage installed.

The Benefited Area Levy was approved by the previous Council at their Ordinary Council Meeting held at Goomeri on 24th August 2022. Mayor Glen Hartwig and current Councillors Dolly Jensen, Jess Milne and Warren Polley voted Yes to impose the levy as did all other Councillors. Councillor Polley was the Division 7 Councillor at the time and is currently the Division 7 representative in the new Council. All the Councillors in the previous Council voted Yes to the levy. Details of the discussions on the levy and the results of the vote are recorded in the official minutes of the meeting and they are available on the Council’s website.

Councillor Polley has been contacted by telephone, email and text by several ratepayers, since the levy became public, and he has not responded to their enquiries. One ratepayer who spoke to Councillor Polley in person was advised by the Councillor that he voted No to the levy being imposed on Southside Ratepayers. The official Minutes of the Meeting record his Yes vote.

The Benefited Area Levy was communicated to effected ratepayers via a double sided Flyer dropped off in letterboxes. No official correspondence (via email or Australia Post) was sent to each ratepayer advising that the cost of the house connection and the decommissioning of the septic system will be applied to ratepayers via the new levy as an addition to their rates. The levy will be in place, once sewerage is connected, for the next 20 years for each property and will be approximately $300 to $600 per year per property. The levy is attached to the property and not the rate payer. Therefore, if the property is sold by the owner before the 20 year period is reached, the new owner is bound to pay the remainder of the yearly levy until the expiry date. A majority of effected ratepayers did not receive the Flyer and are just becoming aware of the Flyer.

Former Mayor Mick Curran who is now the new Councillor for Division 4 said that his Council had tried to introduce such a scheme but had backed down in the face of public fury at a meeting held at the Gympie Pavilion which was attended by approximately 250 ratepayers.

The Gympie Regional Council responded to our concerns in Friday’s edition of Gympie Today dated 7th June 2024. The spokesperson for the Council, whose name and title were not supplied, has described the introduction of the levy as equitable and cost-effective.

As the current Council has 5 new Councillors, who were not in office when the previous Council voted for the Benefited Area Levy and therefore were not privy to the decision making process on the levy, we call on them to overturn the previous Council’s decision to impose the levy, which has been applied to the Southside rate payers in the current sewerage project, and thus ensure that all the residents of this wonderful area are treated with fairness and equality.

Sorensen Rd residents:

Ken Condon

Janelle Condon

Barbara Hack

Courtney Elson

Like Elson

Chris Jacobson

Kelly Jaconbson

Greg Wilson

Lisa Craig and

Emerald Drive residents:

John Sullivan

Denise Carruthers

Greg Pountney

Trish Pountney

Lorelle Ilett