Un­paid rates bill adding up

Melville Times - - News -

CITY of Melville ratepay­ers owed the coun­cil more than $4 mil­lion in un­paid bills at the end of the 2017-18 fi­nan­cial year.

A spe­cial in­ves­ti­ga­tion by Com­mu­nity News re­porters showed over­due rates bills var­ied from coun­cil to coun­cil.

City of Swan ratepay­ers were the worst at pay­ing off their bills in the pre­vi­ous fi­nan­cial year, with al­most $10 mil­lion owed at June 30, 2018.

Wan­neroo came in sec­ond with $8,745,555, just over 3 per cent of the to­tal rates levied.

Rock­ing­ham ($5,831, 119), Gos­nells ($4,680,514) and Stir­ling ($4,674,278) also had to­tals owed to them over the $4 mil­lion mark.

City act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Marten Tiele­man said the fig­ure was 6.12 per cent of rates gen­er­ated for the 2017-18 fi­nan­cial year and com­pared with about $4.81 mil­lion at June 30, 2017.

“The City’s col­lec­tion rate in per­cent­age terms has re­mained fairly con­stant for many years and it is im­por­tant to note the out­stand­ing amount in­cludes ac­counts that ratepay­ers may pay off by agree­ment over a num­ber of years; for ex­am­ple, for un­der­ground power ac­counts,” he said.

“While the City does not con­sider these ac­counts to be in ar­rears, for re­port­ing pur­poses they are in­cluded in the out­stand­ing rates bal­ance in the City’s an­nual fi­nan­cial state­ments.

“The City aims wher­ever pos­si­ble to as­sist and sup­port Melville ratepay­ers who may be ex­pe­ri­enc­ing fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties.

“Rather than re­sort to le­gal ac­tions, which may see an out­stand­ing bal­ance re­duced more quickly, the City’s pref­er­ence is to work with those ratepay­ers wher­ever pos­si­ble to as­sist them to pay off their out­stand­ing amounts over a pe­riod of time.”

Un­der the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Act 1995, a coun­cil is able to take pos­ses­sion of a prop­erty if rates are left un­paid for three or more years.

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