Community group’s requests for rate rebate fall short
THE financial impacts of COVID-19 continue to be felt throughout the region, with councils facing frequent quests for rates to rebated or reduced.
In the Somerset region, the council has already afforded several such reductions to ratepayers, with some residents petitioning for rates to be slashed even further.
The latest request has come from the Glamorgan Vale Water Board, who asked for a full rebate of general rates, separate charges, the Emergency Management Levy, and Rural Fire Levy on eleven properties, totalling $14,809.62.
Councillors noted several issues with the request, one of the most glaring being that the Emergency Management Levy was a State Government charge, and could not be rebated by council.
It was also noted that making an exception to the Rural Fire Levy would reduce the amount of funds available to be distributed to rural fire brigades in the area.
The council report went on to note that all eleven of the properties in question were on rateable land, and that the Water Board still uses council roads and facilities like any other resident or business.
The request was firmly refused by the council.
READ MORE: Early-bird discount for overdue ratepayers
In the same meeting, however, the council did approve a different kind of rate rebate.
The reduction comes in the form of a special hardship concession, giving a partial rebate of rates by pushing back the commencement date to January 2021 rather than July 2020.
This special reduction only applies to properties in Rating Category 204 – banked development land renewable energy facilities – which is land that has been set aside for the construction of a renewable energy project such as a solar farm.
This means that any property within this rating category will effectively only have to pay six months worth of rates, rather than twelve.
More stories by Nathan Greaves.