Several Far North regional councils have announced various rate relief measures for their residents during the COVID -19 crises.
The Cook Shire Council (CSC) has introduced rate relief, including a freeze on rates interest and extension of the rates discount period.
“I am very conscious that the current economic climate has caused serious financial stress to many of our ratepayers,” Cook Shire Council Mayor Peter Scott said. “While Council does not have the capacity to provide widespread financial support, we are able to provide some relief to our ratepayers through these measures and help to ensure our community and businesses make it through these difficult times.”
The Council has extended the discount on all rates issues on February 25, up to a maximum of $150 per rates notice. Interest on all overdue rates and charges has been frozen until June 30, 2020 and ratepayers can also defer rates and charges for three months, or enter into 6 to 18 month payment arrangements.
All debt recovery action and credit default listings have also been deferred until June 30, 2020.
The CSC rate relief follows the Tablelands Regional Council (TRC) who also announced rate relief at last week’s council meeting.
A council spokesperson said “A package of relief measures was adopted to address the economic impacts Covid-19 has had on the community and local economy. “
The first round of relief measures includes:
Payments of rates issued on 24 February 2020 are not required until 30 June 2020 (subject to conditions). Debt collection activity for outstanding rates will be temporarily suspended and existing dog registrations will be extended for six months at no charge.
The TRC spokesperson also said, “A complementary support package for small and medium local businesses will be developed for adoption as part of the 2020–21 budget.”
So far the Mareeba Shire Council hasn’t announced any rate relief for residents, with a council spokesperson writing “A report outlining Council’s COVID relief package will be presented at the next Council meeting on May 20.”