Rate adjustments have dominated the August Meander Valley council meeting, with the chamber voting to continue remissions for a landslip affected property owner and discontinue a rebate policy for those with conservation covenants.
The Tuesday night meeting also saw the council receive the report of the Local Government Code of Conduct Panel into a complaint upheld against councillor Rodney Synfield - for approaching a female staff member on numerous occasions and sending her emails after being requested not to.
The report, released last week, said Cr Synfield would have to attend at least three rate-payer funded emotional intelligence training sessions as a result. No councillor made comment on the matter during Tuesday's open meeting.
But sparking significant debate at the meeting was the matter of rate rebates for 70 Meander Valley landholders with conservation covenants across a total of 2375 hectares of land.
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The voluntary private land conservation program is a joint initiative of the Tasmanian Land Conservancy and state and federal governments. Those with covenanted land are eligible for land tax exemptions, rate rebates in some municipalities and management advice.
Though recommended for continuation after a review requested by councillors in July, deputy mayor Michael Kelly put forward an alternative motion that would have the "poor policy" scrapped from July 1 2020.
Speaking in favour of removing the rebates, councillor Tanya King said purchasing conservation land was a choice and to "expect fellow ratepayers to subsidise the cost is unfair".
Only councillors John Temple, Frank Nott and Rodney Synfield voted to retain the rebate. Cr Temple labelled the move a "mistake".
The council has budgeted $12,500 for the rebates in the 2019-20 financial year. Neither the state government, the program body or landowners were contacted as part of the review, the council's GIS/NRM officer noted in their report.
Councillors also voted unanimously on the recommendation of corporate services director Jonathan Harmey to continue the remission for both the general rate - after the minimum amount of $170 - and waste management charges for two Blackstone Heights properties affected by landslip.
The slip occurred in front of the Blackstone Road properties in July 2014, which were subsequently issued an ongoing notice to vacate after an assessment found there was risk of further landslip activity.
A request from the owner for the remission has been agreed to for each financial year since the incident at a total cost of $10,971. The state government fire levy has not been remitted.
The meeting also saw three council-owned properties at Deloraine, Prospect and Westbury deemed "surplus" to its needs voted to be sold. The properties are not considered public and are worth an estimated $895,000.
However an amended put forward by Cr Temple was carried to advertise for public submissions on the future of the properties "prior to the properties being place on the market".
Service Tasmania and Deloraine Library operate from the Deloraine site, while the Department of Communities has expressed interest in the Prospect Vale residence for affordable housing. The land at Westbury contains a residence.
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