Un­paid rates bill adding up

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - NEWS -

PERTH ratepay­ers owed lo­cal coun­cils more than $60 mil­lion in un­paid rates bills at the end of the 201718 fi­nan­cial year.

A spe­cial in­ves­ti­ga­tion by Com­mu­nity News re­porters showed over­due rates bills var­ied from coun­cil to coun­cil, with the cities of South Perth, Belmont and Kala­munda, and the Town of Vic­to­ria Park ranked in the top 22.

The four lo­cal gov­ern­ment ar­eas col­lec­tively had more than $5.4 mil­lion ow­ing in out­stand­ing rates as of June 30, 2018.

City of South Perth ratepay­ers were the worst at pay­ing off their bills in the past fi­nan­cial year, with about $2m owed, in­clud­ing de­ferred rates and charges.

South Perth chief ex­ec­u­tive Ge­off Glass said un­col­lected rates af­fected the avail­able cash re­serves, which could have some bear­ing on how long a project would take, as­set ac­qui­si­tion and main­te­nance.

Mr Glass said the City un­der­stood that some­times peo­ple ex­pe­ri­enced fi­nan­cial hard­ship, which made it dif­fi­cult to meet all fi­nan­cial com­mit­ments when they were due, and the City worked with ratepay­ers to de­velop a mu­tu­ally ac­cept­able pay­ment ar­range­ment.

City of Kala­munda fol­lowed South Perth with more than $1.8m owed, of which $584,269 were de­ferred rates, mean­ing that while this amount was still owed to the City, pen­sion­ers had elected to de­fer pay­ment un­til the next time the prop­erty was sold.

Vic­to­ria Park chief ex­ec­u­tive An­thony Vuleta said the Town had $894,000 in out­stand­ing fees, which ex­cluded rates re­cently levied.

While the amount owed was “large”, Mr Vuleta said there was lit­tle to no im­pact on the Town and the ser­vices it pro­vided.

“How­ever, once all at­tempts are made to have a ratepayer pay their rates, then le­gal ac­tion will oc­cur,” he said.

The City of Belmont had the low­est amount out of the four coun­cils ow­ing, with $721,995.

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