Councillors Unanimously Vote to Provide Rate Relief for Residents Impacted By COVID-19
City of Belmont Councillors unanimously voted to provide financial assistance for up to $250 to eligible residential ratepayers who experience a rates increase for 2020-2021 resulting from the implementation of the State Government’s triennial Gross Rental Valuation.
Councillors voted at the 23 June Ordinary Council Meeting to make eligible ratepayers able to apply for this one-off payment, if they can show they are experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19.
Councillors voted at the 23 June Ordinary Council Meeting to make eligible residents able to apply for this one-off payment.
“While we don’t expect everyone who receives an increase will need (or qualify) to access this financial support, we hope that for those who do, this provides them with some financial relief,” City of Belmont Mayor Cr Phil Marks said.
“This year Council is faced with the challenge of how to maintain the level of service and support our community expects, during a time where Councillors are aware that many in our community have been impacted financially by the COVID 19 Pandemic,” Mayor Marks said.
“The full extent of the economic impact of COVID-19 on our community and its ratepayers remains unknown. As a Council we are committed to supporting residents and ratepayers through this time by providing fair and equitable support for those people who need it,” Mayor Marks said.
“This help is an addition to the Financial Hardship Policy (COVID-19) already adopted by Council, as well as a 5% reduction to annual Rubbish Charges, and the City’s commitment to invest in the local economy by supporting ratepayers, residents and businesses – and buying local wherever possible,” he said.
“The City will also continue to be one of the only Councils in WA to offer a 5% discount for ratepayers who pay in full by the due date.”
Mayor Marks said that Council had previously voted in support of a zero per cent increase in rate revenue for the 2020-2021 financial year.
“In April the City met the State Government’s request for a zero rate revenue increase for 2020-2021. This means overall the total amount of rates which are collected by the City this coming financial year will be the same amount as in the 2019-2020 financial year,” he said.
“We have lobbied the State Government to postpone this year's triennial Gross Rental Value revaluations, but the State Government has chosen to proceed making a true rate freeze for our ratepayers impossible to achieve without reducing the activity and services provided by the City, or needing to incur debt which must be paid back in the future, most likely through future rate increases beyond the City’s normal approach.
“As a direct result of the State Government's revaluations, some rates notices will be higher and some lower, and some the same as last year, despite the City collecting overall the same total rates revenue.
“The collection of rates is the City’s main funding source, which means rates are critical in enabling the City to deliver essential services and projects that will sustain the community for many years to come. “We believe that Council has dealt with this difficult situation in a way that helps those in need while remaining financially responsible.”
The City is currently advertising its Intention to Levy Differential Rates, with residents and ratepayers able to make submissions until 20 July 2020.