24 April 2020
Council provides rates relief during COVID-19
The Gore District Council is offering ratepayers who are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 an opportunity to defer their rates payment for up to two instalments.
Gore District ratepayers are due to get the bill for their fourth rates instalment in the next week or two. The last day for payment would have been 29 May.
However, councillors have unanimously endorsed the COVID-19 Short Term Rates Deferral Policy, designed to offer immediate relief for those ratepayers who have suddenly found themselves in financial difficulty.
Chief executive Stephen Parry said the policy is aimed at providing a six month ‘breather’ or holiday to tide ratepayers over until there was a less restrictive economic environment.
“Ratepayers benefitting under this policy will still need to pay their allotted rates, but not right now.”
The policy gives all ratepayers the opportunity to defer their next two rates payments, providing they are not in arrears with their rates payment, as at 1 July 2019.
Mr Parry stressed the policy provides a rates deferral, not a remission in rates. People will have to commit to a repayment plan.
Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks said COVID-19 has changed the economic landscape of not only the District, but the entire country.
“We know by the phone calls we’ve been getting the last week that people are worried about their rates.
“It is important people contact us so we can work with them to come up with a suitable plan.”
Mr Hicks said ratepayers that can pay their next instalment should do so.
Rates remain a crucial source of income for all councils, helping ensure the essential services they provide – from drinking water to rubbish collection and roading maintenance - continue during the COVID-19 lockdown and beyond, he said.
The Council will be looking closely at its budgets for the coming Draft Annual Plan 2020/21 to see if any changes can be made to reduce spending to bring any increases to as low a level as possible.
“Our community is very much at the centre of our decision making,” Mr Hicks said.