Council proposes rates relief plan

Invercargill City Councillors will consider financial relief for ratepayers with a special rates postponement scheme early next week.

At the first Committee-of-Council meeting, to be held on Tuesday April 28, Councillors will discuss and consider the draft Rates Postponement Remission Policy, which includes a special rates postponement scheme.

The special scheme has been proposed to support ratepayers experiencing financial hardship as a result of pandemic, epidemic, and natural disaster.

His Worship the Mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt said city councillors were united in their focus on the welfare of every member of the Invercargill community.
“We recognise that COVID-19 is creating unique challenges for our community. Many of our ratepayers are facing significant financial challenges, and are looking for ways to lighten the load,” Sir Tim said.

“Council must continue to maintain financial prudence, while stimulating the city’s economy as we look to recover from COVID-19. This is why we asked Council staff to consider ways to help ratepayers financially during this time, if they need it.”

Sir Tim said many ratepayers may not be aware they are already be eligible for the rates rebate scheme offered by Central Government, and encouraged them to find out more about this.

“Council staff are able to assist you with applications for a rebate too,” he said.

If the Council approves the draft Rates Postponement Remissions Policy for consultation, the public will be asked to share their opinions on the policy in May.

In the meantime, preparations have been made so that ratepayers who have immediate concerns about their ability to pay their rates will be able to discuss those concerns with staff, and indicate that they may need support.

If, after consultation, the pandemic rates support package is not approved, ratepayers will be able to apply for remission of rates penalties instead.