THE Meander Valley Council is offering a 50 per cent discount on council permits to try to encourage people to build houses in the region.
The grant, under its new Meander Valley Council Building Grant Stimulus Program, will cover half the costs of council planning, building and plumbing permit fees, which can total up to $1018.
The grants stimulus program will apply from January 1 and will be reviewed after six months.
Meander Valley councillor Ian Mackenzie brought the grant idea to a council workshop last month, before it was approved at the council's meeting at Westbury yesterday.
Cr Mackenzie said the grant would help support the building industry in the region and promote growth.
In the past six months, the council had received 19 applications for new dwellings, 14 of which didn't require a planning permit, four were discretionary, which costs $428, and one was permitted, costing $258.
All new dwellings in the Meander Valley must also pay a building permit fee of $215 and a plumbing permit of $375.
According to council officers, previous figures show that the incentive will cost the council about $6500 each six months.
The funding was not budgeted for in the 2012-13 budget and will therefore be given as a grant.
Cr Bob Richardson said the initiative would be an investment for the council.
``Once a home or a unit is built, the council is in the position to collect rates for forever and a day,'' he said.
``So if we were to invest $30,000 or $40,000 into building the homes, we're going to get something between $800 and $1500 (back for each) a year for forever.
``So the expense to council is minimal.''
The initiative was passed unanimously.
The council also decided to spend $32,000 on a Meander Valley Economic Renewal Project.
The project will see a report written on the region's economic, environment, and investment opportunities, so the council can look at ways to move the community forward.
It will also include a Meander Valley buy local campaign.