Ararat Rural City Council still working for the community

Posted Friday 3 April, 04:48pm

Although staff cannot speak to residents in person right now, Ararat Rural City Council has reassured the community it is still working for them despite COVID-19 restrictions.

CEO Dr Tim Harrison said it was “business as (un)usual” with Council officers still committed to fulfilling their duties to the community.

“Obviously we have had to modify the way we work during this time – we can’t speak to residents face-to-face but we are still taking phone calls and answering emails so I encourage people to get in touch if they need anything or have any questions for Council,” he said.

“Even though some facilities have had to close, staff at those facilities are still working behind the scenes, completing administrative tasks, maintaining plant and equipment, and conducting spring cleaning.”

Dr Harrison said some office-based staff are working from home as per a government directive stating those who can work from home, should.

“We have some staff who can do their jobs off site, and because all of our administrative systems are now cloud-based, this is working really well,” he said.

“Other Council staff members continue to work on site, including our depot teams who are continuing with road maintenance and construction, building floodways, operating transfer stations and maintaining parks and gardens.”

Dr Harrison said residents can still pay bills – rates, animal registrations and other fees and charges – through a variety of methods including online banking via BPay or by phoning the Council office and paying with a credit card.

He said the office at 59 Vincent Street is closed to the public but cheque payments are still being accepted.

“Residents can mail cheques to PO Box 246, Ararat, 3377. They can also drop their cheque payment with a copy of their bill through the mail slot to the right of the front door of the Council office at 59 Vincent Street, Ararat. Residents will be mailed a receipt once payment is processed.”

Some of the Council services and projects that are continuing with modifications include:

  • Library book loans – these are now being done through a “drop and swap” system. Refer to the Ararat Regional Library Facebook page for more information.
  • Ararat Library Story Time – these have now gone online – visit the Council’s YouTube channel and look for the library playlist.
  • Ararat on the Move project in the Alexandra Active Corridor – netball court construction and work on the Olver Stand is continuing with contractors exercising social distancing and other regulations.
  • Roadworks and other infrastructure works including a floodway on Creek Junction Road, Rhymney, with staff exercising social distancing and other regulations.
  • Transfer stations – all transfer stations are still open but are operating on reduced hours. Visit www.ararat.vic.gov.au and click on the red link on the home page for more information.
  • Meals on Wheels – this is being staffed by Council officers instead of volunteers.

For up-to-date information on service arrangements during COVID-19 restrictions, click here.