Central Highlands Regional Council has issued its first round of rates notices for the new financial year with the time to pay and receive the five percent discount extended to 60 days from the issue date.
Councillors were told this week that a large proportion of ratepayers in the region could experience financial hardship due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic response.
In addition, councillors learnt that some people’s rates and water bills may be affected by delays and errors with the issue of notices from the second half of the previous financial year due to a technical issue with the new property and rating system.
Mayor Kerry Hayes said the issue was ‘bigger than the technical problems’.
‘It may seem cliché, but we are all in this together,’ the mayor explained.
‘I believe that granting an extension of time to pay and offering financial flexibility for people is a considered approach and an appropriate response as a council to its community.’
Council adopted a financial hardship policy with its 2020-2021 budget in response to the pandemic providing concessions of short-term payment extensions and freezing of interest and rebates of all or part of levied rates and charges to eligible applicants.
Due dates for payments of rates and water levies were also extended in the second half of the last financial year.
‘I encourage anyone that has a question about their rates or water notice; has concerns about their ability to pay their bill; or just wants to know more about what options are available, to contact our helpful customer service officers around the region,’ the mayor advised.
Further information about council’s 2020-2021 Budget, payment of rates, and concessions available can be found here.