Opinion: 'Council overcharged 1000s for water connection'
Letter to the editor: Council's hidden cost
AS A ratepayer, I would like to share with others what I have learned about a new water connection and council rates on a vacant block in Tin Can Bay.
My husband and I purchased a block of land last year and were told by the real estate agent, when I inquired, that the "water connection box, underground power and telecom connection were all available at the front of the block, yes they are yours”... not so.
Fortunately I called at the Gympie Regional Council offices and I was told water would need to be connected from across the road, "a long connection costing $2300” but four months later this was $2835. The half-yearly council rates notice arrived - water access charge $200.45 and sewerage charge $352.40 for the vacant block.
We are about to build a new home and will need to pay a further $600 fee for sewerage connection. The total cost to date is about $3435, yet, we will not have our house completed until maybe September 2018 and that will be in the next council rate notice period. We are aware that all water used during the build stage will be metered and billed.
I wrote a letter to Gympie Regional Council CEO to express my dissatisfaction with these fees.
I received an email from GRC rates officer referring me to many council policies and regulations available on line. He also invited me to take my case to our local councillor, which I did. I spoke with Mark McDonald about my concerns expressed to the CEO but have not had any feedback to date.
Anyway, I paid the long water connection fee of $2835 on 09/02/2018 and retained the receipt. The paperwork was "lost” for a month within council departments (costing us an additional month for rental accommodation). This takes the total water/sewerage connections to more than $5000.
When I checked the water meter which was installed on our block, there was no sign of road digging, it just appeared to be a "piggy-back” connection from a neighbour's water meter one metre to the left of our new meter.
I phoned to ask the council department staff why we paid for a long connection and I was told "water infrastructure is costly”. They would have done the original connection to the next-door houses when they had their water connected. That was many years ago, so, why is it so costly?
I believe there are others who have had a similar experience. When it is not right, it is not right - is it?
Tin Can Bay