Rates hold-outs face land sale
Leniency will no longer be given to South Waikato ratepayers who owe thousands in outstanding rates.
Deputy Chief executive Ben Smit said council’s previous emphasis had not been on long term debt collection but that was to change.
‘‘Out of fairness to others who do pay their rates on time we need to collect them.’’
There are 16 properties in the district that are potentially up for a rating sale with a total amount of rates owing of $186,824.34.
There are two processes the council can use to collect rates through property sales, a rating sale or an abandoned land sale.
Abandoned land is one the owner has simply walked away from and not paid rates for at least three years.
The council must get the property legally declared abandoned before selling it, retrieving monies owed and putting the remainder into a public trust.
If the property owner returns, he or she can claim the remainder.
Mr Smit encourages people to apply for a rates rebate even if they think they won’t get it.
‘‘A lot of these [ratepayers] aren’t aware of the programme or they are embarrassed because they feel like it’s a handout but they’re entitled to it,’’ he said. ‘‘It can kill over 1⁄ to 1⁄ of your
3 2 rates.’’
Do you qualify? The South Waikato District Council urges people to apply for a rates rebate.
The council receives around 900 rebate applications a year.
Communications manager Kerry Fabrie said it is likely this could be much higher.
‘‘We often find ratepayers who do not know about the scheme and would have qualified if they applied.’’
Rebates close June 30.