TIME IS TICKING: The council have announced rate payers only have until January 31 to order their water tank for reimbursement this financial year.
TIME IS TICKING: The council have announced rate payers only have until January 31 to order their water tank for reimbursement this financial year.

Turning off the tap on water tank rebate

RESIDENTS have voiced their frustrations with the announcement by the Southern Downs Regional Council that the water tank rebate scheme will end next week.

Despite its positive uptake, the council has decided the scheme will close for this financial year on Friday January 31.

"Due to the overwhelming positive take up by eligible residents of the water tank rebate and the impact on council's budget, during the January general council meeting, councillors made a tough decision to place the water tank rebate scheme on hold for the remainder of the financial year," a council spokesman said.

Comments on the Southern Downs Regional Council Facebook page have been largely negative.

"I was advised by the council not to hurry, wait until the new year as the rebates would be available for the financial year," commenter Natalie Perrett said.

"This is a broken promise to extend the rebate into the 2019/20 financial year, how many people have been saving like myself to install tanks?" Jenn Greene-Galloway said.

"This will anger and disrupt many residents future plans I'm so over these snap decisions."

The scheme designed to lessen the strain on the reticulated water system rebate is a reimbursement granted to ratepayers of up to $2500 depending on their size of tank.

Mayor Tracy Dobie has said people have had plenty of time to purchase their tank and apply for reimbursement.

"All we are asking is for you to put in an order by the end of the month for your tank," she said.

"This scheme has realistically been in place for three financial years."

Mayor Dobie said the council has spent almost $1 million on reimbursements in the past six months.

"Because we cannot possibly anticipate how many more applications there will be for the next six months, we can't estimate how much more money we need to pay out for those tank rebates," she said.

"Our water business unit cannot afford it."

Council will allow a two month period, up until 31 March 2020, in which applications can be lodged to access the water tank rebate.

"Our plan is to continue the rebate after July 1 so if you for some reason can't get your order in by January 31 and application by end of march, you just need to wait five months."