CLAREMONT hairdressers and barbers want their council to cut a new $50 fee for inspections of their shops, also being charged to beauty salons and tattoo parlours.
“It’s totally gross and unfair; what are our rates for?” Jaeger Hair Design operator of 28 years, Thomas Jaeger, said.
On July 1, he and six other independent hair businesses in the town centre were sent $50 bills from the council for “annual surveillance of hairdressers, beauty therapists and skin penetration establishments”.
Mr Jaeger said some of the inspections consisted of council staff who “came in, looked around, walked out”, and it was feared the fee could be raised to “$100 or $1000” in the future.
All the barbers and hairdressers who refused to pay were subsequently sent letters on July 8 and October 22 that threatened council debt collectors would get the outstanding fees.
Claremont acting chief executive Les Crichton said the $50 fee recovered part of two annual inspections for each business and was introduced this year so ratepayers did not fund “what is essentially a requirement of these businesses”.
Mr Crichton said food premises, public and private swimming pools, also paid for the service, using the fee set by the council.
He said it was “normal and appropriate” that debt collection was used when other methods had been exhausted.
Tom’s Gentleman’s Barber owner Tom Davin said he wanted an explanation for the fee.
“And what I don’t understand is why, all of a sudden we get stuck with a bill for $50, when I’ve been here nine years,” Suite Blonde hairdressing owner Anita Green said.