Council quick with the refunds

THE Derwent Valley Council was quick to hand out the money after deciding to waive the fee for a footpath occupancy licence in New Norfolk. For a number of years the council has required shopkeepers to apply for a permit if they wish to put items such as signs, tables and chairs on the footpath.

At the monthly meeting on September 20, the majority of councillors endorsed Cr Chris Lester’s proposal to provide the footpath licences for free this year, and to review the fee in the next budget process.

“In recent weeks council has been requesting the renewal of footpath occupancy licences,” Cr Lester said in a written motion on notice. “Many of the businesses have spoken to me saying that business over the last couple of years has been extremely slow, and that any further impost even a small one such as that charged for the licence is one they can ill afford,” he said. Cr Lester said he believed the impact on the council budget would be in the order of $1800.

In seconding the motion, Cr Wayne Shoobridge pointed out that the proposal was only to waive the fee. Shopkeepers would still be required to apply for a licence if they wished to use the footpath for business purposes. Councillors Judy Bromfield and Damian Bester opposed the proposal, saying the fee should be reviewed by the council’s planning department and brought to the next budget process. The motion was carried, six votes to two, and businesses that had already paid the fee received their refund cheques in the mail this week.

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