Rates discount dropped to save ratepayers money

Burdekin Shire ratepayers who have difficulty paying their rates by the due date will end up paying less under a new scheme incorporated into Council’s 2013/14 Budget.

Mayor Bill Lowis said the new scheme replaced the discount policy which helped the council, but not the community.

“The previous discount policy provides residents with a strong incentive to pay their rates on time, but it penalises those who cannot afford to do that,” he said.

“Escalating insurance and power costs have put many residents under financial strain and our new policy will help ease the burden by providing greater financial flexibility.

“The new method of paying rates will allow residents to have a wide variety of payment schemes with less of a penalty.”

Cr Lowis said the new policy which would remove the 10 per cent discount and replace it with an interest accruing scheme was a radical departure from past practice.

“Ratepayers will be charged the nett levy and that amount would be due in 30 days, but if they miss that deadline the remaining debt would attract an interest charge of 11 per cent,” he said.

“For example, the rates due on a residential property were $2886 and under the current scheme residents would owe $2597.40 if they paid before the due date. If they were late with their payment and missed the discount they would pay the full $2886.

“Under the new policy, the levy on the same residential property would be $2597.40. If the resident missed the due date and paid in full 30 days after the due date, they would pay 11 per cent interest bringing the amount owed up to $2620.88. That’s a saving of $265.12.”

Cr Lowis said Council would monitor the success of the new policy.

“If it turns out that this policy affects Council’s cash flow to the extent that it threatens service delivery, then we may have to review it,” he said.

“But it is hoped that we can continue to lessen the financial burden on our ratepayers.”

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