BOOSTING the economies of small towns in Moyne Shire is the reason behind a new trial offering thousands of dollars worth of incentives to small businesses.
The scheme could see successful applicants, which need to be small businesses with up to 19 staff, receive half-priced fees for planning applications or commercial food registrations.
It could also see the council waive fees for signage, use of footpaths for activities such as alfresco dining, or permits for work on road reserves.
The council suggests even waiving one year of a businesses' rates up to $2500, or as a percentage over a longer period of time.
Mayor Daniel Meade said the program was designed to help new businesses find their feet and pointed to the loss of the Hawkesdale and Macarthur pubs as examples of changing economies in small towns.
"We would hope this gives some encouragement that Moyne supports small business," Cr Meade said.
But councillors Mick Wolfe and Jim Doukas voted against the scheme at January's council meeting, stating they would prefer it wasn't available to the shire's existing small businesses.
"You can end up with 300 applications from existing businesses that could smother a business that's thinking of starting up," Cr Wolfe said. "I think the value should be for attracting new businesses."
The council will trial the scheme for the remainder of the financial year, after allocating $20,000 for it. If that is successful officers will suggest expanding the scheme until June 2023.
Cr Jill Parker, who voted for the trial to go ahead, said the council needed to offer it widely.
"I'm sure new businesses will be given consideration. But we may not have new businesses who want to take it up in this short time," Cr Parker said.
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