Re­cov­ery to ex­pand

Coun­cil con­sid­ers op­tions as it pre­pares to sell off seized houses

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS - Shirley Way shirley.way@cnbtimes.com.au

THE North Bur­nett Re­gional Coun­cil plans to step up its re­cov­ery of more than $1 mil­lion in over­due rates and charges, as it pre­pares to sell 13 prop­er­ties for non-pay­ment of rates.

A spike in non-pay­ment of rates in Biggen­den, Mt Perry and flood-af­fected Gayn­dah and Mun­dub­bera has the coun­cil look­ing for op­tions to ease the debt.

Coun­cil fi­nance man­ager Lisa Benham said an early in­ter­ven­tion pro­gram for strug­gling ratepay­ers was the key.

Ms Benham said for the first 12 months, coun­cil would con­sult each ratepayer in gen­uine fi­nan­cial hard­ship to es­tab­lish a pay­ment plan.

“We know that if people don’t pay their rates in the first 12 months, it be­comes too big of a bill to pay (and) they close their eyes to it,’” she said.

“Ba­si­cally, ev­ery­one can make a pay­ment as of­ten as they want through di­rect debit, BPAY, over the counter or use Cen­tre-pay through Cen­tre­link.”

In March, coun­cil re­solved to sell 16 prop­er­ties with an unim­proved value of more than $2.2 mil­lion to re­cover about $153,000 in out­stand­ing coun­cil rates and charges.

Ms Benham said it was best for res­i­dents to pay rates in ad­vance and re­ceive a 10% dis­count rather than pay in ar­rears with 11% in­ter­est.

“We want to do this as morally and eth­i­cally as we can,” she said.

At last week’s coun­cil meet­ing, it was re­ported 13 prop­er­ties would go to sale, af­ter three own­ers paid their debts in full.

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