Ron Bates was hit with a $270 bill for slashing and adminstration by the council but the work was not carried out on his land and the council has apologised for its error.
Ron Bates was hit with a $270 bill for slashing and adminstration by the council but the work was not carried out on his land and the council has apologised for its error. Valerie Horton

Mown down by a clerical error

A MARYBOROUGH man was prepared to go to court to fight a $270 bill from Fraser Coast Regional Council for slashing and administration costs but yesterday the council admitted it made an error.

Ron Bates said it was simply too wet to mow when he was notified by council in February that his vacant block in Maryborough’s George Street was overgrown.

So he didn’t get it get it done within the 14 days required but said he took his tractor and slasher on to the block five days after the deadline and got most of it mowed.

Mr Bates said the half-acre block had a creek running through the bottom of it and sloping ground.

“It was still wet that day and I could only do half the slope,” he said.

“I nearly rolled my tractor three times.

“It was slipping and sliding – that’s when I called it quits.”

Mr Bates, who runs his own lawn mowing and slashing business, said many council parks were in the same condition during that period because of the rain.

He said he was surprised to receive the $270 council bill in May because “they had not been on my property”.

Mr Bates wrote to the council saying he refused to pay and heard nothing until he received his rates notice with the outstanding $270 included.

Following the Chronicle alerting the council, the matter was investigated and it found that Mr Bates’s property had been incorrectly identified in paperwork sent to a contractor.

The council apologised to Mr Bates for its mistake and said it would ensure his accounts were changed accordingly.

Also, the council said it had changed its system of issuing notices to clean up overgrown allotments to minimise the risk of it occurring again.

The council said it issued 1355 notices to owners of overgrown allotments last year and encouraged all owners of vacant lots to regularly maintain their land.



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