SIXTEEN months after being lashed by the Victorian Ombudsman for overcharging ratepayers via its waste fee, Wodonga Council has been lauded by the same authority.
The deputy ombudsman Megan Philpot has written to council chief executive Mark Dixon to address the city's response to a recommendation that it not use the waste management levy to raise money for services other than garbage administration.
"I am pleased to see that the council has undertaken a rigorous assessment of the forecasted cost of providing waste management services for 2019-20, and has reduced the levy considerably in budgeting for a cost neutral outcome," Ms Philpot wrote.
"I appreciate that councils are under considerable financial pressure to deliver services to their communities.
"However, it is essential that councils be open and transparent with their ratepayers about the true costs of services to ensure public trust is maintained."
Ms Philpot concluded her August 13 letter by declaring the matter closed and thanking the council for assisting with the investigation.
Whistleblower Charlie Mitchell, who sparked the Ombudsman's investigation into the overcharging through his work at Wodonga Council, welcomed Ms Philpot's focus on the importance of clarity.
"Councils need to provide open and transparent information to the community and I'm pleased to see that is now happening with the waste management levy, but it should have occurred 10 years ago," Mr Mitchell said.
Ms Glass determined the council had maintained the practice to avoid "unnecessary negative public reaction".