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It led to a councillor questioning whether the 10% penalty for late payments was appropriate during yesterday’s full council meeting.
For the 2020-21 year, $31,081,352 in rates was due by October 31 this year, and 81% of rates were collected on time.
All balances outstanding on November 1 were charged the penalty, which resulted in 17,748 penalty notices being sent out this year, compared with 19,505 in 2019.
It brought in an extra $484,814, or 1.56% of total rates.
Cr Kate Wilson asked staff when the council had last reconsidered the penalty rate.
While it would not amount to a lot for some individual households, 10% of rates for a hotel, or something similar, would be a large amount, she said.
The debate was kept short, as corporate services general manager Nick Donnelly replied that the council was not interested in becoming a funding mechanism for hotels.
The penalty was there as an incentive to pay on time.
It was important to remember it was a penalty rate, not an interest rate, he said.
The council had an increase in active direct debits from 12.3% last year to 13.9% this year, and there were 16,568 direct debits in place for the October 31 payment.
Of the $6million outstanding, $1,265,000 was scheduled to be paid by triannual direct debit instalments.