Mount Isa City Council respond on water
I write in response to Danielle Slade’s letter on March 7, "Water charges don't add up".
I can answer many of Ms Slade’s questions, although it is a shame that after repeated invitations to come and meet with us and have a conversation about her concerns, Ms Slade has refused.
Council works hard to ensure there is a reliable supply of clean water available round the clock, at a decent pressure, and at a fair price.
A new methodology was introduced this year that changed the way Council charges the community that applies the general concepts that:
The higher level of access you have to the system (meter size) the more you should pay; and you are responsible for the water you use and should only be charged for what you use.
Council have included a number of concessions to ensure fairness, such as ratepayers living in their own homes will only pay based on the smallest meter size; and also reduced charges to support community organisations such as sporting clubs, education facilities and not-for-profit groups.
Unfortunately, water supply comes at a cost. Council raises $16.25 million in revenue from water from access and consumption charges, grants, and user fees.
However, spends more than that on essential operations, maintenance, and asset replacement at $16.93 million, and this excludes the $2.05 million of non-cash depreciation costs.
Part of the costs include paying the State Government (Mount Isa Water Board and Sunwater) almost $11 million for the city’s water, and this cost is shared across less than 7000 ratepayers.
What this means is the water function will make a cash loss of $680,000 this year, and have a net deficit of $2.7 million.
Council does not make a profit on water.
As with anywhere else in Australia, this access and consumption charging system takes some adjustments, but most places have seen that it brings about positive change for household finances and environmental outcomes.
It is especially important that locations like ours, that water should be treated as a precious resource, and we should all think twice about using extreme amounts of water.
It was only last month that we nearly reached critical point for water management and availability before the rains appeared.
Ms Slade states that she doesn’t believe that Mount Isa residents are saving as much money as we have calculated, and I can assure her that they have.
We are meeting and talking with community members regularly to look at what impact these changes are having.
As with anyone passionate about community issues, we invite Ms Slade to come in and learn more about these situations. In unity there is strength, and Ms Slade may have some valuable contributions to make, but without accepting a meeting, there is little way forward.
But for the community members who do accept and engage in our consultation, we greatly appreciate and thank you, as we work together for a better overall outcome for our city.
Mount Isa City Council
1. Qantas no longer (after many years) has afternoon/night flights from Brisbane to Mount Isa.
2. Shell truck service station had no running water ie in all taps zero water all day on Monday February 18 and maybe for longer. Should be an issue for Council Health Officer.
3. Sunset caravan park has a new swimming pool.