Eidsvold tops town debt list

Res­i­dents owe coun­cil about $1.74m in rates

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS - SAM TURNER sam.turner@cnbtimes.com.au

CON­CERNS have been raised by the North Bur­nett Re­gional Coun­cil that res­i­dents with out­stand­ing rates are us­ing the coun­cil “as their bank”.

This comes in light of the to­tal out­stand­ing debt across the North Bur­nett, to­talling about $1,741,910.25.

Eidsvold cur­rently holds the largest amount of out­stand­ing rates at 28 per cent, while Monto sits at 20 per cent, Mount Perry at 16 per cent, Gayn­dah at 14 per cent, Biggen­den at 12 per cent and

Mun­dub­bera at 10 per cent.

Coun­cil­lor for di­vi­sion one Paul Lobegeier said he was “very con­cerned” about the debt lev­els of ratepay­ers, in light of the lat­est fi­nance re­port up to De­cem­ber 31.

“It seems to be our cur­rent non-pay­ing of rates is quite a large chunk,” Cr Lobegeier said.

“We’ve got an aw­ful lot of money sit­ting there.”

Cor­po­rate ser­vices man­ager Zoe Behrendt said there had been a grad­ual 5-6 per cent de­crease each month since the rates were last due.

“The rev­enue team are ac­tively work­ing with the debt re­cov­ery agency for those that are at the debt re­cov­ery stage,” Ms Behrendt said.

“But I think the way we’re go­ing to ap­proach this is, as we dis­cussed be­fore Christ­mas, a re­view of the pol­icy of how we han­dle it, and the steps for debt re­cov­ery.”

The re­port in­di­cates of the 136 as­sess­ments re­ferred to ex­ter­nal debt re­cov­ery on Novem­ber

11, 20 have paid in full, 60 have been moved to state­ment of claim, 51 have en­tered pay­ment ar­range­ments and five have made pay­ments with­out en­ter­ing an ar­range­ment.

Ms Behrendt said a lot of peo­ple with over­due rates were mak­ing pay­ment ar­range­ments, but there ap­pears to be those tak­ing ad­van­tage of the coun­cil’s sys­tem.

“There are a lot of peo­ple who know what our process is, and they’re us­ing it as their bank,” she said.

“They’re wait­ing un­til they re­ceive a phone call, or they re­ceive a let­ter from the debt re­cov­ery agency say­ing their next stage is court, and there are quite a few peo­ple there.”

Mayor Rachel Cham­bers then asked the fi­nance team when they were go­ing to re­view the pol­icy.

Ms Behrendt then en­sured Fe­bru­ary would be the time frame they’d be aim­ing to bring back sugges­tions to the coun­cil, to see how they can han­dle the sit­u­a­tion.

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