And the dummies tried to pay
By DARRYN NUFER
ABOUT 20 Rockhampton ratepayers were left red-faced this week after trying to pay their dummy water bills.
The second round of dummy bills to 20,000 Rockhampton homes arrived in the mail to indicate to residents what their usage was and to give them a chance to make adjustments to meet their budgets.
Fitzroy River Water general manager Neil Hanschen said despite an information campaign which included media coverage, and dummy bills clearly marked "do not pay anything'', there had been confusion among some.
"Twenty people out of 20,000 is a fairly small number though,'' he said.
While some of the confused people were Rockhampton residents, the majority were "out-of-towners'' or businesses who owned properties in the city.
From July 1, ratepayers will be charged for water use, with the first real bill to be sent out in late October.
Another dummy water bill (the last) will be sent out in late July.
Under the old water payment blanket system, every homeowner was paying $401.40 a year (after a 10% discount for prompt rates payment).
Householders are now set to pay 30c a kilolitre for the first 75,000 litres in every three-month period and 50c a kL for the next 100,000L.
A higher charge of 95c a kL kicks in after 175,000L.
There is also an access fee of $216.90 for the year.