Around 25 ratepayers united to question the Coorong District Council in a special meeting.
The group gathered for the 3pm meeting at Tailem Bend on Tuesday. The crowd included Member for Hammond Adrian Pederick.
Prior to the meeting, the Coorong Ratepayers Action Group (CRAG) were granted a deputation and submitted a dense, seven-page set of questions once the meeting had been scheduled.
Six speakers from the group were granted 10 minutes to present questions to the councillors and staff, but times quickly blew out to between 15 and 45 minutes per speaker.
Rates, roads, the community wastewater management scheme (CWMS) and septic tank pumping were the main items up for discussion.
When questioned about the cost of the CWMS, the equity around the system and the septic tank charges by member Sandra Douglas, council chief executive officer Vincent Cammell explained the council charges for the entire system.
“What council is actually charging for is the overall operation of the CWMS system it’s not actually just the septic tanks,” he said.
“The septic tanks are just a small part of the overall. What you’re actually paying for is the pipe networks, the pump stations, the secondary storage, the actual filtration plant, ponds and the secondary disposal aspects for the waste product from the systems.”
Costs also include maintenance, electricity and various other costs.
Mr Cammell added the council also needs to add further funding reserves in order to upgrade the system in the near future.
“There is currently zero surplus in this scheme, but we will have to make sure we start building up some reserves so we’re able to upgrade the system when we need to,” he said.
Ms Douglas asked why owners of vacant land would be charged when they would not be using the system.
Mr Cammell said the charges are put in place to provide the CWMS to all eligible properties around the district, and owners of vacant blocks would have to wear the cost to make the overall system more viable.
“Owners of vacant land who might have been eligible for connection to the CWMS, like in Wellington East, are now connected to the system, so they will be charged for the service," he said.
Lyn Fatchen questioned regarding services to relieve low-income earners and the elderly, Glynis Taylor quizzed the council on rates, John Payne asked about waste collection, Keith Wood asked generic questions from ratepayers and Mr Pederick discussed the regions roads.
- Further coverage to come in later editions.