BATHURST Regional Council is not happy it could soon be required to pay a $28,000 dam levy annually in what has been labelled a "cost-shifting exercise" and "daylight robbery".
Council has received documentation from Dams Safety NSW that it intends to impose a levy on owners of Declared Dams, of which council has two, Chifley and Winburndale dams.
The purpose of the levy is for the NSW Government to recover costs incurred by it to administer the NSW Dam Safety Act 2015, and council is anticipated to have to pay approximately $28,000 per annum.
The $28,000 would cover both dams council owns.
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At its meeting last week, council resolved to make representations to the minister and the local member objecting to the proposed levy.
Councillors made it clear they thought the proposed levy was a disgrace.
"Where the hell do they get a $28,000 levy for administration fees for the Dam Safety Act? I mean, come on - this is the biggest cost-shifting exercise," councillor Warren Aubin said.
"Indian givers: they give us one lot of money on one hand and take it on the other. I really think they should be giving us money for all the money we've spent on ads for water conservation over the past two years.
"This is absolutely ridiculous."
He said council should "vehemently declare we will not be playing this $28,000".
Cr Alex Christian was equally as frustrated by the potential for this levy to become a reality.
"There are dams everywhere, but this is just another example of a kick in the guts for regional NSW and regional councils. It's daylight robbery, it's a rip off," he said.
Currently, council doesn't have any compliance costs payable direct to the Dams Safety Committee or the state government for dam safety compliance.
A final decision regarding the imposition of the new levy has not been made.
Council's director of Engineering Services has already flagged where council may have to fund the levy from if it's imposed, and it's not good news for residents.
"Should this levy be charged, this will add further cost to the operation of the Bathurst Water Supply service, which will potentially need to be recovered by way of additional charges to Bathurst town water supply customers," he said in his report to council.