Recovery to expand
Council considers options as it prepares to sell off seized houses
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.