Somerset Regional Council Mayor Graeme Lehmann with Deputy Mayor Helen Brieschke.
Somerset Regional Council Mayor Graeme Lehmann with Deputy Mayor Helen Brieschke.

Payments, plans: 3 decisions from the latest council meeting

IT WAS another busy week for the Somerset Regional Council, with numerous difficult decisions to be made.

Read on to find out more about the topics discussed during this week's meeting.

 

Fire Brigade

With its lease set to end in November this year, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services are asking to renew their sublease agreement for the site of the Coominya Rural Fire Brigade.

As well as extending the period of the lease, QFES are also asking to expand the lease area to include an additional council-owned building further along Railway Street.

The new lease would be for a twenty year period, ensuring the volunteer brigade has a base of operations for the foreseeable future.

Complicating the issue is that the new section of land is included in the Rail Trail network, which council subleases from the Department of Transport and Main Roads.

Council voted to write to DTMR and express that they had no objection to the proposed plan.

 

READ MORE: Council irate over flushing funds down trashed toilets

 

Insurance Changes

The council this week approved changes to its property insurance arrangements that will cut annual costs by $56,000.

Mayor Graeme Lehmann said Council, like many local governments, has adopted a deficit budget.

"We cannot run deficits in the long term however and we are actively looking at ways of keeping our operating costs down in line with our 'affordable rates, effective services' vision," Cr Lehmann said.

"I think anyone who has paid their home insurance recently will be aware of the impact of last summer's bushfires on premiums. We are also being told that coronavirus is starting to push up commercial insurance premiums."

He said council officers had been hard at work renegotiating policies to better benefit the council's bottom line.

"We have been working with our insurers over the past few months to best use our financial strength to contain future premiums and have negotiated a more balanced arrangement," he said.

 

READ MORE: Mayor's wife always tracked down a paper if it didn't arrive

 

BPAY Contract

The council also approved a contract covering rate notice printing and delivery of electronic notices through BPAY View.

Mayor Graeme Lehmann encouraged Somerset residents to register to get council notices in BPAY View through their bank apps.

"We understand that ratepayers are busy and using BPAY View may suit many people," Cr Lehmann said.

"Using BPAY View means you're able to view your rates notices anywhere, anytime, and your bank or credit union will notify you when a notice is ready to be viewed.

He said the online method was faster and more efficient, offering convenience for those who didn't want to wait for standard mail.

"At the moment, Council sends rates notices by post and we wanted to provide an additional fast, easy and simple way for ratepayers to access and pay their rates," Cr Lehmann said.

"This service is offered alongside postal services."

 

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