City to work with property owners to recoup unpaid rates
Published: 27 Mar 2017 11:52am
The City of Wagga Wagga will continue to work with property owners as it tries to recoup more than a quarter of a million dollars in unpaid rates.
Under NSW Government legislation, councils have the ability to sell properties with outstanding rates balances of more than five years.
A report will be considered at the March 27 Ordinary Council Meeting to begin the land sale process, however, the City is hopeful that property owners will work with staff and come to an agreement that is in the best interest of all parties moving forward.
“The City of Wagga Wagga can only wear the financial burden for so long before it has an impact on other ratepayers and residents,” the City’s Chief Financial Officer Natalie Te Pohe said.
“The sale process is a last resort and we would much prefer the property owners contact the City to discuss and negotiate an agreed payment plan.”
Including more than $254,000 in unpaid rates balances of more than five years, there is a total of $4.5M outstanding rates from 4617 properties in the Local Government Area.
“Rates are a core part of the City’s budget and make many projects and services possible such as road works, parks, vital maintenance and facilities such as the library,” she said.
“Unpaid rates also create a cash flow problem. In terms of a household budget, unpaid rates are the equivalent of being paid less than you expected and then still needing to pay your rent or mortgage and other bills on time.”
Residents can contact the City’s rates department to discuss their account on 1300 292 442.
When are rates instalments due?
Rates are due on a quarterly basis - payable 31 August, 30 November, 28 February and 31 May of each year.
What options are there to pay my rates account?
Bpay, direct debit (weekly, fortnightly, monthly, quarterly), direct from Centrelink pensions, in person at the Civic Centre (cheque, cash, credit/debit card), by posting a cheque, and a number of options online at wagga.nsw.gov.au.
I am experiencing financial hardship, does the City of Wagga Wagga offer payment arrangements?
Yes – if ratepayers contact the City we can discuss a reasonable payment arrangement that is agreed on by both the ratepayer and the City. As long as the payment arrangement is adhered to, no further legal or court costs will be added to your account. Financial hardship does not mean land rates will be written off.
If I don’t pay my rates, what will happen?
Legal, court and interest costs will be added to your account. The City can implement a salary or bank garnishee and has the ability under the Local Government Act to impose a requirement that rental income is paid directly to the City. In the most extreme instances, the City can sell your property where the debt exceeds a certain amount and length of time.
How do I contact the City of Wagga Wagga to discuss my outstanding rates?
Please call the City’s rates department on 1300 292 442 to discuss your outstanding rates, or visit the Civic Centre at the corner of Baylis and Morrow streets.