Residents booed, heckled and even swore at Wodonga Ratepayers’ Association members who went into bat for their city’s council at a meeting to seek interest in a class action to recoup money for waste levy overcharging.
Association president Ian Deegan was admonished by lawyers hosting the meeting for repeatedly asking “personal” questions about whistleblower Charlie Mitchell and the termination of his job at the council.
When the Ombudsman reported on the overcharging, Mr Deegan questioned what else the city was hiding and said the community had not been represented properly.
But last night the group opposed the class action, calling it a “folly”.
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Mr Deegan said the association was working with council to get a discount and had been invited to review the budget.
“At the moment we have council agreeing to drop that charge and to refund some of it,” he said.
Secretary Bob Cousins defended council’s use of the overcharged waste levy, saying it had improved the city.
“The money hasn’t disappeared, it has been spent on us in our town, the things that have been done in excess of waste management have benefited every ratepayer,” he said.
Other residents disagreed, with Bev Young saying it was not ideal that a few people had dominated the meeting. “It was disappointing to see a small group of people supporting council being so vocal,” she said. “It’s not about money, it’s about honesty and transparency. Right now we have no idea what else are they hiding.”