Rates dis­count to re­main

Harvey-Waroona Reporter - - FRONT PAGE - Han­nelore Hep­burn

HAR­VEY Shire Coun­cil’s rates dis­count for early pay­ment will con­tinue af­ter Cr Bill Adams’ mo­tion to phase the in­cen­tive out was lost three votes to nine at last Tues­day’s meet­ing.

Cr Adams said his idea was to make the sys­tem more equal and he was con­vinced the num­ber of peo­ple un­able to pay up­front would rise due to the eco­nomic down­turn. “The dis­count is a kick in the gut for one third of our ratepay­ers less af­flu­ent,” he said.

“A bonus sys­tem which hands out to the af­flu­ent is in­ap­pro­pri­ate in a time of un­em­ploy­ment and debts and we need to spread the bur­den.

“When the rates dis­count was in­tro­duced, the sit­u­a­tion was dif­fer­ent and if we can do away with the dis­count, we can re­duce the rates hike.”

Nei­ther Wa­roona and Dar­danup coun­cils nor the City of Bun­bury have a rates dis­count in place al­though some local gov­ern­ments of­fer the in­cen­tive of go­ing into a draw for a prize.

Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Michael Parker said the in­cen­tive to en­cour­age early rates pay­ment had been in place since 1988 re­sult- ing in 68 to 70 per cent of rates paid in full within the 35-day dis­count pe­riod.

“Re­ceiv­ing the ma­jor­ity of rates up­front has a sig­nif­i­cant and pos­i­tive im­pact on the shire’s cash flows and en­ables us to com­mence ma­jor projects ear­lier,” Mr Parker said.

“How­ever, coun­cil is mind­ful of the dif­fi­cul­ties some peo­ple have in pay­ing rates and has tried to keep in­stal­ment fees to a min­i­mum of $15 com­pared to a South West av­er­age of $28.

“We are cur­rently not charg­ing in­ter­est on the in­stal­ment op­tions, only on over­due rates, while the av­er­age in­ter­est charged on in­stal­ments in the South West is 5.2 per cent.

“The shire also of­fers tai­lored pay­ment plans for peo­ple strug­gling with the pay­ment of rates.”

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