Annual rates notices for property-owners across the MidCoast are currently being distributed as required by legislation, but there are measures in place to assist people who have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of a range of initiatives targeting financial strain as a result of the pandemic, the team at MidCoast Council has implemented a one month extension for payment on the 2020/21 annual rates notice.
For people who pay in full, the extension means payment falls due on September 30. The extension also applies to people paying by quarterly instalments, where the first instalment will fall due on September 30.
In addition, there will be no interest charges on overdue amounts during the period July 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020.
While our situation is not unique, we recognise that our community has been financially impacted by the pandemic.Steve Embry, MidCoast Council
"While our situation is not unique, we recognise that our community has been financially impacted by the pandemic", council's Steve Embry said.
"Our aim is to provide relief where it is needed, and where we can, whether that's by giving people a little longer to pay or by waiving interest on overdue amounts during the first six months".
While the one month extension will be welcomed by many property-owners, it is important to note the changed due date if you have elected to pay by direct debit.
"Many of our customers have a direct debit in place where the payment is deducted from their nominated bank account on the due date - these customers should be prepared for the deduction to be made one month later than usual, on September 30, and ensure they have sufficient funds available", Mr Embry said.
Due dates for the remaining quarterly instalments remain as they always have, falling on November 30, 2020, February 28, 2021, and May 31, 2021 respectively.
Property rates make up just over 50 per cent of council's income and help deliver services that range from roadworks and infrastructure improvements, to providing a library service and maintaining sports fields.
If you are experiencing financial difficulties due to COVID-19, additional support measures are outlined on MidCoast Council's website, where options include entering into a payment arrangement to suit your current financial position. Visit www.midcoast.nsw.gov.au/rates for more information and to apply.
Special rate variation
The 2020/21 financial year is the final year of the five per cent special rate variation approved by IPART (the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal). Apart from this approved increase, specifically quarantined to improve the region's transport network, most other charges remain the same including those charges that apply to water rates.
There are no increases to waste charges, sewer charges, or water access charges. Water usage charges remain static per kilolitre for the first step - to a set allowance based on your meter size - while water used above this allowance will increase by $0.20c per kilolitre.
"The two-step system is used to encourage the responsible use of water, and means customers using more water than the average will pay more", Steve said. "This is especially important in light of the severe drought conditions our region has experienced in recent times".
Property-owners will have also recently received a land valuation from the NSW Valuer General's Office, which comes into effect with the 2020/21 rates notice.
Land valuations cannot impact the total amount of rates Council can collect, but may influence how this total is distributed among property-owners. More information about how rates are calculated is available at www.midcoast.nsw.gov.au/rates, and for information about land valuations visit www.valuergeneral.nsw.gov.au/land_values.