Residents likely to get credit for garbage overcharging

Three years ago, they held up placards in council chambers.

The RAGErs were the "Residents Against Garbage Extortion" and had been overcharged for their waste services for many years.

RAGErs outside council chambers in March, 2017

RAGErs outside council chambers in March, 2017

The glitch only came to light after the green waste bin service was introduced by council and a number of residents found two or even three new green bins delivered to their homes.

That alerted them to the fact that they had been paying for extra, and unnecessary, garbage services for some time - more than two decades in some cases.

They agitated to have the overpayments fully refunded but council voted at the time only to refund up to five years.

Now, the mayor is moving to "fix the mistake".

Mark Greenhill will take a resolution to next week's council meeting seeking support to reimburse the residents in full - but via a credit on future payments rather than cash refunds.

The mayor said the original decision to limit refunds to five years "never sat comfortably with me".

Although it was the ratepayer's responsibility to check their notices, "these people paid for a service they didn't get".

Maintaining the RAGE

Maintaining the RAGE

"The cost is significant and funds are scarce. By giving these people a credit we preserve funds for services while also addressing something that needed to be addressed," he said.

"I am sure some people might like the cash but I think this a fair outcome and addresses something we got wrong."

One of the wronged residents, Lynda Sykes from Warrimoo, was delighted to hear the news. For 23 years she unknowingly paid for two garbage services.

"It's fantastic," she said. "Oh finally, because I really felt we were hard done by as loyal ratepayers."

The mayor said all affected residents will eventually be reimbursed.

"They will get it back over the years by not being charged. That's a cost foregone rather than an outlay."

"Is it a backflip?" he asked. "Absolutely ... but my view is if you get it wrong, admit it and fix it. I don't know why I didn't think of this three years ago."