Relief for ratepayers amid crisis

Gary Kircher
Gary Kircher
Waitaki ratepayers can breathe a small sigh of relief amid the Covid-19 crisis, as the Waitaki District Council acts to assist those under financial pressure.

In a letter delivered to the district’s  ratepayers, accompanied by rates assessments due on May 25, Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher has outlined how the council will go about easing its expectations on ratepayers.

Penalties if rates due at the end of May are not paid have been waived and people have been given the option of delaying the full payment until August 25.

Mr Kircher also confirmed there would be no rates increase for the 2020-21 financial year, which starts on July 1, as indicated last month when the council pledged to work towards a zero rates increase.

However, in the letter he said there ‘‘may be some minor variations on individual rates accounts due to different activities happening in each area’’, but  the total rates take would be the same as in 2019-20, when $32.115million  was collected.

Finally, the council was  ‘‘looking into other postponement and remissions options’’ for people who were experiencing ‘‘longer-term financial difficulties’’ due to Covid-19.

Mr Kircher said the expectation was people should pay their rates ‘‘whenever possible’’ so the council could continue to provide essential infrastructure and support services.

‘‘Please do not just stop paying your rates or cancel your direct debit. If rates are not paid then our recovery will be slower, more painful and more expensive next year. If you are finding paying rates a struggle, please contact us so we know what you are facing and we will work with you to come to an arrangement that works for everybody.’’

More information can be found on the council’s website.

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