TRAFALGAR will lose its council customer service centre after councillors voted in favour of closing it at their public meeting on Wednesday.
First published in the 15 May 2015 edition of the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen. For more local news and features, pick up your copy for free from retailers across Baw Baw.
Seven councillors voted in favour of the officers’ recommendation that the centre be closed, with Mount Worth ward councillor Peter Kostos and North ward councillor David Balfour the only two to vote against.
The move means the centre, based in the Trafalgar Technology Centre will be closed from 1 July, just six weeks away.
Operation times of the service centre will be reduced to eight hours per week until then.
All residents will receive a letter detailing the change.
The customer service centre has been a point of contact for council services including animal registration, health registration and renewals, rates payments and debtor payments.
The centre has had an average of 10.8 transactions per day over the past six months, a total of 9.95 per cent of Baw Baw transactions.
The service centre costs $346.80 per active day to operate, with the average cost per transaction coming in at $32.11.
Councillors who supported the motion said residents could use other methods of paying bills with the same results.
“The cost per transaction for the council as per the best value report 2013 for the whole of the shire was $4.38, and at Traflagar it’s $32.11,” Mount Worth ward councillor Murray Cook said on moving the motion.
“Because the services provided at the centre can be provided in other ways it makes sense for us to rationalise the situation.
“I recommend this particular move. The main thing of course is the transition period. There may be people who find it more difficult than others.
“It is important for us to note that that transition period is traversed carefully.”
Drouin ward councillor Terry Williamson said: “it’s just a reflection of the changing times – you can pay rates with BPay now.”
Cr Kostos said the move would be a loss for Trafalgar.
“Baw Baw Shire is a large shire, it’s also a very long shire,” he said.
“Trafalgar happens to be quite a large and significant town on our eastern boundary. I do agree that the cost is high.
“I still think we need to have some kind of representation in Trafalgar.
“I think the people of Trafalgar deserve to have some kind of representation.”
Cr Balfour said nearby small towns would also be disadvantaged.
Find the author on Twitter
Get free email updates from the Baw Baw Citizen
Read more Baw Baw News