Mayor to propose a 30-day extension to rate payment discount periods
Mayor Matt Burnett will put forward a motion at Council’s general meeting next Tuesday (3 Sep) to extend the 10 per cent and five per cent discount periods available to ratepayers to pay 2019-20 rates notices.
Councillor Burnett said following unexpected delays in the issue of this year’s rates notices, Council was aware of strong community feedback relating to rates and the timeframes to pay.
“Despite Council communicating its intention to revert to a combined rates’ notice this year, I acknowledge our ratepayer’s concerns around the change,” Cr Burnett said.
“This, together with a printing and distribution delay of rates notices, means many ratepayers have not had adequate time to take advantage of the discount periods.”
Cr Burnett said the half yearly water and sewerage combined bill had previously been introduced to spread the cost during an economic downturn following the LNG construction boom.
Council increased its general rate by 1.94 per cent or a total average of 2.39 per cent overall.
“While the economy is certainly improving many residents and small businesses are still struggling financially,” he said.
Cr Burnett said while multiple rate payment options were available, unexpected rate issue delays had impacted on the time available for ratepayers to receive discounts.
“Council did take into consideration household budgets and, this year, has allowed ratepayers to design their own payment plans which includes options to pay weekly, fortnightly, monthly and, for the first-time, can also be paid on a quarterly or half-yearly basis,” he said.
“I appreciate the change to the rating methodology has had an impact on many household budgets and, in order to support local families and small business I believe an extension of the discount period is fair and reasonable.”
At next week’s general meeting Cr Burnett will put forward the motion “that Council extends the 10 per cent discount period and five per cent discount period by 30 days for residential, rural and commercial ratepayers”