$6m in overdue rates; ORC stands by late fee

Otago Regional Council rates of $6 million are outstanding after the due date at the end of last month.

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.



Having to pay two sets of rates for what exactly in this day and age when people are loosing jobs etc is bonkers, why do we need two councils again.

As a ratepayer who has been battling for over a decade to get the ORC to to do basic maintenance on their infrastructure, I am not interested being a funding mechanism for the arrogant Mr Donnelly and his cronies extravagant new headquarters....

I am not alone.

I would love these technocrats (local and central) to feel the pain of the economy from which they get paid 100% whilst others have had seen drops of 50-90% in their incomes. If their salaries were down 50% then maybe they will have some empathy and adjust their spending on wasteful projects and hence reduce all our rates/tax burdens. Are they there to be serve? or be served?





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