AN Albury beauty therapist will need to pay $2460 to use a basin in a home-based salon in West Albury.
The amount has been recommended by Albury Council’s planning and development committee with a further discounted figure of $500 rejected.
Council planning staff originally recommended Melinda Batrouney pay almost $5000 in a mandatory one off “Section 64 contribution” required due to the impacts and demands on water and sewerage networks.
Ms Batrouney asked council for an exemption to the charge based on her personal calculation she would use less than 70 litres of water per year for a range of treatments including facials, back and foot massages and body waxing.
She planned to service three clients per week between 10am and 3pm on weekdays only.
But council’s own investigations found the estimates had been underestimated and had not taken into account sewer discharge.
Also washing of towels had not been factored in and the servicing of three clients didn’t correlate with the 25 hours of operation.
Cr Henk van de Ven’s push for a further reduction to $500 was defeated 4-2 after describing the discounted figure being “over the top”.
“We don’t have a policy around these sorts of issues,” he said.
Cr Murray King supported Cr van de Ven and said charging “exorbitant fees” would prove a disincentive to people establishing home-based businesses.
He also queried why councillors were actually dealing with what he considered a relatively minor matter.
“These things shouldn’t have to come to us to make a decision,” he said.
But, general manager Frank Zaknich pointed out staff didn’t have the authority to waive fees and charges.
Planning director Michael Keys defended the calculation of the amount to be charged.
“We’ve tried not to be too onerous and over the top,” he said.
Ms Batrouney couldn’t be contacted for comment, but in a submission to council she said: “I feel that a contributions payment of $4920.96 is an unreasonable amount considering the small amount of water that I estimate will be consumed on an annual basis”.
The committee recommendation will be presented to council for endorsement later this month.