Bill is caught between two shires - Paying for services not received

Bill and Yvonne Smith are still hoping the Snowy River Shire council will have a change of heart over charges they are being forced to pay for services they don't receive.

They are being billed the "waste availability charge" on all four lots of their 940 acre property on the Myalla Road.

All lots are vacant rural land except one, on which their home is situated.

Mr Smith said using the Snowy River Shire facility will cost him and his wife over $2,000 a year to dispose of their small amount of household waste.

"This figure is made up of a $404 rate levy, $10 per bin to Berridale landfill, plus travelling 84 kilometre return trip, plus our time," Mr Smith said.

Mr Smith has approached the Snowy River Shire council about the problem but has not received a favourable response to date.

"A Snowy Rive Shire councillor agrees that we are subsidising Jindabyne and the areas where the waste is collected by the Snowy River Shire."

Mr Smith said unfortunately he and his wife are on the Myalla Road where the shire is collecting thousands of dollars for rates and waste fees but providing no services.

"Previously we were provided with a card which allowed us to use the Cooma facility," Mr Smith said.

"These arrangements were cancelled by Snowy River Shire and we now pay to use the Cooma landfill.

"Our northern boundary is only 700 metres from the Cooma shire, should we not have the same privileges as those ratepayers living adjacent to the towns in the Snowy River shire?"

Mr Smith said boundary changes or amalgamation must come as he believes the Snowy Shire cannot survive under the present arrangements.

"Perhaps council can think up some new charges in an attempt to balance their books."

Given the property's proximity to Cooma, they welcomed moves by a group of Myalla Road residents to have shire boundaries adjusted which would mean they would become part of the Cooma-Monaro Shire Council.

"We would love to be in the Cooma-Monaro shire, it makes sense," Mr Smith said.

Mr Smith has contacted the member for Monaro John Barilaro about the problem and has had a sympathetic response.

Mr Barilaro said in his letter to the Smiths that he strongly encourages local councils to actively pursue duty-sharing arrangements which can provide cost savings for local residents and more efficient service delivery.

"Your example of not being able to use the Cooma waste facility is a clear example of the need for more cooperation and coordination between local councils," Mr Barilaro said.

"Unfortunately, as a member of the NSW partliament, I do not have any ability to direct a local council to take action on such matters.

"However, I can pass matters like this on to the council and seek their cooperation in securing a fairer solution."

Mr Barilaro has also passed on the information to the NSW local government minister.

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