Greater Shepparton City Council has announced it will for this year not enforce penalty interest on lump sum rate payments until February15.
This development follows on from the council having previously removed the February lump sum payment option in its new rating strategy, sparking criticism from some in the community.
In a statement yesterday, the council announced ‘‘for the 2017-18 financial year, council will not raise penalty interest on outstanding lump sum payments until after the gazetted due date of 15 February, 2018. This is to assist ratepayers’ transition to quarterly instalments’’.
‘‘In future, if you wish to pay your rates in full, you can still do this by pre-paying the four instalments at once prior to 30 September of that year,’’ the council said.
Council’s corporate services director Chris Teitzel said it would not change the dates for those who wanted to pay by instalments.
‘‘For simplicity, if you’re going to pay by lump sum, you have until now and February 15 to avoid any interest being charged on outstanding balance,’’ he said.
The change had been influenced by ratepayers’ concerns in part, and because of a legislative provision.
Mr Teitzel said a small proportion of people had complained about the previous change in lump sum payments.
Concerns had been aired about the lack of a total rate amount tallied up on rate notices, an attempt to ‘‘try to get people on to an instalment methodology’’, but something that would be rectified in the next round of notices released.
Mr Teitzel said the change did not dampen his interest in shifting ratepayers to the same payment arrangement, which was easier from an administrative point of view, he said.
Mr Teitzel said while the change was ‘‘in conflict with the intention of what the rating strategy said’’, the matter would likely be debated by councillors ahead of next year.
The council had previously explained the removal of the February lump sum payment option helped it to identify ratepayers experiencing financial difficulty and paying their rates earlier.
Councillors had initially flagged concerns about the removal.
But the new strategy was unanimously voted for, after a period of public comment when no submissions were received.