Councillor Greg Matthews wants the Section 94 Contribution Plan Roads, Traffic Management and Car Parking fees to be changed to help small businesses. Photo: FILELarge fees by Dubbo City Council were a deterrent for small businesses and were preventing activity in the CBD, according to councillor Greg Matthews.
Cr Matthews is calling for change of use development applications equal or less than $100,000 to be exempt from Section 94 Roads, Traffic Management and Car Parking Contribution Fees.
The fees are used to fund and enhance traffic infrastructure where needed, as identified in the Urban Roads Plan.
Cr Mathews said the amount council requested from small businesses could be overwhelming, but waiving the fees for smaller businesses would encourage growth.
“This would allow the small start family businesses the ability to get moving and employ people in Dubbo without council moving in on their opportunity,” Cr Matthews said.
Council strategic planning supervisor Steven Jennings said the Section 94 Contributions Plan Roads, Traffic Management and Car Parking started in 2005. “The plan provides an overall work schedule for roads of $47,299,000 for the planning period of 2002-2016 which includes the construction of new roads, significant traffic infrastructure and the provision of traffic facilities through various locations in the city to facilitate an overall population in excess of 60,000 persons.”
Mr Jennings said a review found exempting applications less than or equal to $100,000 would cost council about $90,000 a year based on 2014/15 figures.
If section 94 contributions were eliminated altogether, council would lose an estimated $121 million between 2016 and 2045, which would have to generated from other revenue streams, Mr Jennings said.
“When put in the context of general rate revenue, delivery of the full program would require the provision of an additional $6925 on behalf of each rateable property – which consisted of 17,472 as at 30 June 2015 – over this period, which would equate to an additional amount of $230.85 per each rateable property per annum,” he said.
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Councillor Allan Smith said no Dubbo resident in their right mind would support a small rented premises in the CBD getting a Section 94 Contribution charge potentially worth $150,000.
Cr Smith said something needed to be done now, especially with the current push to revitalise the CBD.
“Businesses will go where there’s people so it is important that we ignite the CBD- as it’s called now- and bring people back there,” Cr Smith said.
“Your Woolies, your Coles, whoever it happens to be, whatever business it is, they’ll go where there’s people, where they feel they can get foot traffic past their front door.”
Cr Matthews’ son, Dubbo Flip Out franchisee Jake Matthews was recently hit with a $147,584 Section 94 Contribution fee, however appealing to council it was reduced to less than $300.
Cafe Stone’s Throw had a $7,326 Section 94 Contribution fee waived.
If Cr Matthews’ amendment is approved at the September Ordinary Meeting of Council, a community consultation will be undertaken to establish the public’s response.
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