Rate notice blunder corrected by council
Council said it took immediate action to rectify “a service provider error” that resulted in incorrect delivery of third instalment rates notices to some residents using BPAY View.
Acting corporate and community services director Malcolm Lewis said a database error resulted in 326 of the third instalment rates notices sent to incorrect email addresses.
He said the service provider accepting full responsibility.
Mr Lewis said council did not issue rates notices electronically, but it participated in the BPay View service which allowed residents to receive electronic copied of their rates notices.
“I would like to apologise to the residents affected on behalf of the service provider for the inconvenience of receiving these incorrect rates notices.
“We assure the community that the error will not be a cost that ratepayers have to bear and are confident that this will not occur a second time,” Mr Lewis said.
Residents using BPAY View were urged to disregard incorrect notices as the service provider issued the amended notices.
Mr Lewis said council staff contacted all the affected residents to offer a further explanation and apology for the error.
Mayor Joe Gauci said the database error appeared to occur when the rates notices and addresses did not correspond with the right names.
Cr Gauci said it was not a breach of privacy about individual’s property valuations or details because the incorrect rates notices only detailed amounts owing for properties, not valuations.
He said people were seeing their name with another property’s rate details, but nothing more.
He said the mistake was brought to council’s attention very quickly and staff responded within a day of the incorrect notices being sent out.
“If we react quick enough we knew most people won’t have tried to pay it,” he said.
Affected ratepayers were contacted and told “we have become aware of a printing error on our recent notice distribution from our print- ing house so please disregard the notice you have received.”
Mr Lewis confirmed the mistake was made by the same service provider, SEMA, that also encountered an error in 2014 when 3000 rate notices had to be re-issued.
In that case, pensioners were issued with rate notices showing a $100 state government pensioner rebate rather than a $208 rebate.
A letter and new rate notice had to be sent to about 3000 ratepayers.
Council urged any residents that received an incorrect notice, or have any concerns about the matter to contact council 5624 2411.