Blue Mountains News

Council Assists those who Need Help after Rates Increase

By Blue Mountains City Council
Posted: 12 Sep 2020
Blue Mountains Mayor Mark Greenhill and CEO Dr Rosemary Dillon
Blue Mountains City Council has implemented compassionate measures to assist those who may be struggling to pay their rates, following an increase in land valuations determined by the NSW Valuer General’s office.

Mayor Mark Greenhill said he’s angry that the State Government has ignored his repeated pleas to subsidise households faced with an increase, given the unprecedented challenges of summer bush fires, flooding and now the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This State Government increase that some families are now feeling, happened against the wishes of the Council,” Mayor Greenhill said. “Where people can show genuine hardship, and it is certainly present in these tough times, we will show a compassion that the State Government hasn’t by refusing to subsidise the increases.

The Office of the Valuer General has deemed that Blue Mountains land values have grown by 31% since 2016 and the rise has affected almost 60% of Blue Mountains land owners.

“I simply cannot understand how they can claim these percentage changes. It makes no sense to me, especially given what has happened over the last year,” Mayor Greenhill said.

“Council is legally required by the State Government to use the new land values they have supplied and Council does not receive any extra income from the increase. This is because the amount we receive from rates is fixed and where land values rise in some places, they decrease in others.

“Land values are the main factor all NSW Councils use to calculate rates for residents, but the current situation shows the system is broken.  It’s not equitable, and it’s certainly not fair in a period when our community has had to face repeated crises.

“This is a view shared by many councils across the state.”

Blue Mountains City Council CEO, Dr Rosemary Dillon, added that support is available, and that residents in need should come forward.

“We see that this is a difficult time for our community and we have put in place compassionate measures that can assist those that may find it difficult to pay their rates,” Dr Dillon said.

“What we can do for those in financial distress is provide extended instalment payment plans. Interest penalties can also be put on hold during the period of the arrangement.

“Council remains committed to supporting the community through COVID-19, and following bush fires and flooding, and working with other levels of government and key agencies to address the significant impacts on the City following multiple crises.”

If you are unable to pay your rates, call Council on 4780 5000 and ask for the Revenue team. For more information, visit Council’s Rates and charges webpage.

You can also lodge your objection about land valuations directly with the Valuer General of NSW’s office. Get more information at the Valuer General’s website. It is very important that you do this if you feel your land valuation assessment is not right.

 
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