Prices shift for Guyra and Armidale following merger

FEES and charges will change for residents of the former Guyra Shire and Armidale Dumaresq Councils that have continued to pay different rates despite the merger.

Armidale Regional Council is expected to adopt the single-fee approach in early March.

Planning and environmental services acting director Ambrose Hallman said the decision was made to align costs for the merged councils.

“We can start to streamline our back end processes, each council has its own fees and charges and any changes to those fees is usually exhibited at the start of the financial year,” he said.

“We could have started this process in July but we brought that exhibition process forward because we want to make the changes to start making the process easier.”

The fees relate to regulatory services, planning services and corporate administrative services and are most likely to affect businesses.

The changes are expected to make administration more efficient and charges fairer for businesses in both towns.

In Armidale, the price of a drainage diagram costs $3 less than it does for residents in Guyra – the changes proposed will align both areas at the higher fee of $50.

For beauty businesses in both regions, the cost of an inspection has reduced by 12 per cent.

The price of a CD Rom of Council Local Environmental Plans, Development Control Plans or related Planning and Development Policy for the area has gone up from $33 to $200.

“In some cases the fees haven’t changed at all, in some cases the fee has gone up massively – but we’re just aligning our fees to those prescribed in the Act,” Mr Hallman said. 

“In most cases we’ve tried to find a middle ground but the fees were already pretty similar.

“This isn’t about trying to get additional revenue for Armidale Regional Council.”

The proposed revisions to fees and services are on public exhibition until February 22.

Mr Hallman said he expects council would adopt the changes within the first few weeks of March.