PENSIONERS and residents opting to live outside flood-prone areas have slammed council’s push to increase rates to fund its one-third share of the levee upgrade.
Barry Williams believed Wagga pensioners struggling on a fixed rate would feel the proposed special rate variation (SRV) of $70.63 each year over the next five years.
“The levee bank is quite necessary,” the Wagga Senior Citizens Club secretary said.
“We need to think about that, but we need to think about people on a fixed pension income. They might struggle. It is going to impact people on a pension.”
Mr Williams hoped insurance premiums would drop once the main city levee is upgraded to a one in 100 year level or protection, with the possibility of upgrading the North Wagga levee to a one in 20 year level.
The average annual increase for all ratepayers will be 4.1 per cent, but those on farmland will have a reduced rate of 1.91 per cent.
It means residential ratepayers in villages across the local government area, such as North Wagga, will pay an extra $24.87 each year, while all residencies in Wagga itself will pay an additional $70.63.
Peter Simpfendorfer made a “conscious decision not to buy in a flood-prone areas such as North Wagga” when he purchased his Lake Albert home.
“People who had the foresight to build or purchase property in a flood free area should not have to subsidise through several rate increases the cost of protecting those who did not show such foresight and built or purchased in a flood prone area,” he said.
“I think it’s a council and state government responsibility. I think it’s going to have an impact (on ratepayers).”
Mayor Rod Kendall said when announcing the SRV last week that he didn’t “think it’s unfair that the community should pay for one third of protection for itself”. Council expects the proposed SRV to generate $7.75 million, adding pressure on the state and federal government to contribute the remainder of the $23.3 million project.
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