Redland City Council has adopted a new Community Benefit Policy and Guidelines for Fees and Charges Discounts designed to ensure the consistent and equitable application of fees and discounts for use of Council products and services.
Redland City Mayor, Karen Williams said the new policy is necessary for good governance but Council also wants to ensure it avoids adverse affects on existing users.
“The new policy is designed to assist community groups and Council officers with the application of discounts, in particular the hire of Council owned halls and community venues and facilities.
“This includes the definition of discount eligibility status in four categories of Registered Charity, Non Profit or Not for Profit Groups, Commercial Users with Community Benefit and a Commercial Organisation.
“A review and complete analysis of existing hirers and users will be submitted to Council so we can fully monitor the new policy and avoid adverse impacts.
“The new discount policy and guidelines will be gradually applied to the fees and charges schedule adopted each financial year along with Council’s budget, while the application of annual CPI increases in fees and charges will become effective for all users from 1 July 2015.
Council’s Financial Services and internal audit spokesperson Councillor Mark Edwards said the new policy and guidelines provide a standard approach across Council.
“Developed with financial capacity and the broader community benefits in mind for the use of council products and services, the application of the new policy is expected to have neutral or positive benefit for a number of regular hirers on discounts.
“The new policy and guidelines also provide for current contractual arrangements with hirers and users to be honoured.
“Where user groups have a current hall hire agreement with Council, the current category fees and charges will be honoured and remain in place until the 31 December 2015, after which new hall hire fees and charges and discount arrangements will be applied.
“Where there are adverse affects, the new policy and guidelines include provision for an exceptional circumstances application to ensure continuation of the current level of discount if this is considered appropriate.”
Council will be directly contacting regular hirers and groups to explain the application of the new policy and provide assistance to groups that are uncertain of their status or able to take advantage of discounts.
Hirers are advised to contact Council on (07) 3829 8999 for information on the policy and guideline which will be monitored and updated as required.