Community pressure appears to have won the day to block a steep waste charge proposed in the 2019/20 municipal plan.
Almost 200 local businesses would have been affected by the Katherine Town Council's proposed changes, which would have seen prices double from $100 per tonne to $200.
Already wearing the cost of last year's increased charges, Michael Knight, the owner of M.T Bins, a local waste collection service, called for a cost more in line with other facilities - such as Darwin, which only charges $80 per tonne.
At a Special Meeting of Council last night, the amendments to the waste charges were unanimously voted in, effectively adopting the municipal plan as well.
"The introduction of the new charges is an important process," the council agenda states.
"KTC did not have the opportunity to consult widely with commercial and community stakeholders.
"Feedback to date has indicated a need for a period of commercial and operational adjustment and a continuing need for education and assistance around waste management practices, such as streaming, recycling and future proofing planning for businesses.
"A slower phase in of the proposed charges is hence recommended."
Amendments included a reduction in charges from the proposed $200 per tonne $125, removing the fee for mixed domestic waste, reducing the proposed discount for sorted waste in respect to concrete to $20 per tonne from $80, and instigating a three month delay in the proposed Waste Management Facility charges to allow for communication on the new fees.
While the reduction in fees will see less money funneled to a new waste facility site, projected to cost about $40 million, community development executive manager,Rosemary Jennings, ensured the budget would not suffer.
"We have been conservative," she said.
The report outlines the rationale behind the overthrown waste hike was a way to "encourage sorting of waste by users, prior to disposal at the Waste Management Facility."
It was also expected to provide revenue for sorting mixed waste after it had been deposited at the WMF.
"The concepts of user pays, user self-sorting of waste streams, and recycling are not new and have been part of local government waste management best practice for decades in many parts of Australia," the report states.
"The use of charges to provide incentives and deterrents is a common practice."
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