City council fees and charges will soon join everything else in putting the squeeze on your household budget, with many rises proposed for the next financial year.
While most of Wollongong City Council's fees and charges are going up by roughly 5.9 per cent, some fees have been chosen for hikes well beyond the inflation rate.
Domestic waste charges for a 120-litre bin will increase by 5.9 per cent to $446.50, in line with the rise for most council fees.
But commercial fitness trainers who use the most popular parts of the city's foreshores and parks to do classes - such as Thirroul and Austinmer beaches, Kanahooka Park or Bulli Beach reserve - can expect a hike in the fees paid to council of 96 per cent $1500 for 3-10 participants, or 53 per cent to $2205 for more.
Other less prominent areas' training charges will have a price rise more like 5.9 per cent.
Wood heaters, blamed for some for contributing an outsize share of air pollution, are also going up with the price you'll pay council to install one rising 145 per cent from $163 to $400.
This appears to be a move to turn homeowners off wood heaters as the council moves to limit greenhouse gas emissions, but has come as wood heaters are manufactured with increasing efficiency.
This really is an opportunity to let council know about the plans that are important to you- Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery
The price rises won't apply to development applications and subdivisions, be they large or small, as these fees will remain unchanged.
The price of a tree removal application is coming in at $100 for the first two trees, and another $50 for each tree after that.
The tree removal charges are part of a new tree management policy introduced by the council, which made it easier to chop down trees up to 5m tall without a permit.
Before 2023 the limit was 3m for trees that could be cut down without a permit. That has now risen to 5m, allowing landowners significantly more freedom to remove established trees on their property.
Fines for removing trees unlawfully on public or private land remain unchanged at $3000 for individuals and $6000 for a corporation.
Council's associated documents do not provide explanation for why some fees are subject to substantial hikes.
The Mercury sought comment from Wollongong City Council but it was unable to respond to any questions by deadline.
If you want to challenge a decision the council has made over whether to grant permission for some activity or development, that's going to cost a lot more.
The cost to review a determination made by the council will jump 157 per cent from $292 to $750.
Lodging an objection against council application of a regulation or policy will also leap 208 per cent from $243 to $750.
Neither of these apply to reviews of development applications decisions, which remain unchanged.
And it's going to become harder to get a dangerous dog no longer declared a problem: a new fee of $385 will apply to applications to revoke a dangerous dog declaration.
Most common charges such as a construction certificates, swimming pool approval, venue and room hire, most domestic and commercial waste disposal at the Whytes Gully tip, and the price for cabins at the council's beachside holiday parks, rise by about 5.9 per cent.
Other fees and charges which are carrying significantly more than their share of the price rises include:
The disruption to traffic and parking caused by the many "works zone" areas placed off-limits to resident parking has been recognised with a major jump in the cost to developers.
The application fee for a works site would go up 93 per cent to $350, establishment and signage would jump 308 per cent to $1000, and the rate per metre of kerb space taken away from general parking would double, to $21 for non-ticketed, and $43 for ticketed street spans.
Wollongong City Council said rising fees for mobile homes and associated structures was only for manufactured home parks and caravan parks, not for on someone's property.
There was a brief panic earlier this year when new property figures sent to homeowners from the NSW Office of the Valuer-General showed many properties had apparently doubled in value since the previous reckoning.
But fears this would lead to council rates doubling were put to rest - while rate rises are likely, they won't be anywhere near double. Rate rises need to be approved by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART).
When the proposed fees went on public exhibition last week, Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery encouraged residents to take the time to review the documents and provide their feedback.
"This really is an opportunity to let council know about the plans that are important to you,'' Cr Bradbery said.
"If you're not one to wade through documents, there is also a fantastic interactive map on Council's website that you can use to zoom in on your local area and see what is on offer.''
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