Publican sets new precedent

HOTEL and motel owners, who have been charged retrospectively for their rubbish rates, may now be able to seek reimbursement – because a precedent has been set.

About three months ago, Gary Gilbert, the publican of Maryborough's Carrier Arms hotel, was landed with a $15,000 bill for his rubbish rates, which the council claimed was what he owed because they'd been billing him incorrectly for 18 months.

“I rang up and said no way,” Mr Gilbert said. “Then they said they'd got the figure wrong and I actually owed $12,000. I said no way to that too.”

He phoned the mayor Mick Kruger and a handful of councillors and he got a good result.

“The mayor fixed it.”

Yesterday Mr Kruger said that if other businesses are in a similar situation to the Carriers Arms, they can contact Lisa Desmond, council's director of organisational services.

“We'll then have a look at it and judge each case individually on its merits.”

Mr Gilbert said that although the mayor had fixed his back rates, he was now going to fight the council over his current rates bill, which categorises the Carriers as “commercial industrial”.

“We are actually “multiple residential”, which is category 19 and we're paying more than we should.”

Mr Gilbert's new rates bill is $58,876.93 – up from $49,000 last year – and he is not happy that he is being charged for 40 rubbish points at $229 for each.

“We don't fill our units 100 per cent of the year, only 60 per cent, so why are we paying for rubbish being collected from 38 units?”

He is also going to war with the council over his urinal charges.

“We have two pipes in there and there used to be two charges. Now they're charging us at the rate of 600 ml per person and that's costing us $308.”

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