Bass Coast,

Different Ways To Pay For Special Charge Schemes

Across Bass Coast Shire, over 120km of urban roads remain unsealed, with the cost of upgrading these roads estimated at $150 million.

When projects are done to bring unsealed roads and drains up to standard, the ratepayers who benefit from these upgrades can be required to contribute to the works.

Deputy Mayor, Cr Kimberley Brown, said Council recognises that contributing towards a road and drainage upgrade can be difficult for people to pay.

“Council, however, also recognises the vast benefits that an upgrade provides and believes that the benefits have a marked positive impact on people’s lives,” Cr Brown said.

“Council offers a range of payment options, as well as a hardship program in place to assist people that may be on a pension, a fixed income, are single parents, are unemployed, or in a similar situation.

“These people can get financial assistance to minimise the impact of paying for a scheme.”

Cr Brown said in addition, Council recognises that whilst it offers payment options and has this program, there may be people that cannot pay as per the options and do not qualify for the hardship program due to their circumstances.

“Even if you don’t quality for this program, Council can still offer payment arrangements tailored to individual needs in order to help people included in the project,” Cr Brown said.

“Council does this because it sees the liveability outcomes from road and drainage upgrade projects are really important for the long term improvement areas in our Shire, and Council would like to ensure that an individual's inability to pay does not hinder projects from progressing.”

Cr Brown said the next project that Council may deem a special charge scheme is Sunset Strip on Phillip Island.

“There is a potential for Council to support and provide funding towards improvements to road and drainage infrastructure in Sunset Strip, however it would require support from the Sunset Strip community,” Cr Brown said.

“There is also the likelihood that if a project is not supported by the community, then Council may abandon the project and explore the opportunity to improve road and drainage infrastructure for another area, and community, within the Shire.

“I know there are residents and ratepayers in this estate that have been waiting a long time to see their roads and drains upgraded.

“It would be disappointing for people to miss out on the benefits of this project because people weren’t aware of individual payment arrangements that can be organised with Council.”