RATES CHANGE: The new changes will help residents afford their payments.
RATES CHANGE: The new changes will help residents afford their payments.

Fresh changes to rates amid pandemic, fire recovery

SOUTHERN Downs ratepayers will now able to cut their rate notice into smaller payments this upcoming financial year, thanks to a new initiative by Southern Downs Regional Council.

From 20/21, the council will move from a single annual rates notice to two six-monthly notices paid in August and February.

Mayor Vic Pennisi said the decision was made in light of the ongoing financial ramifications from coronavirus pandemic, bushfire recovery and drought.

“The council understands that our community is in uncharted territory … and is aware of the increasing financial weight this situation presents,” Cr Pennisi said.

The exception to this change would be water consumption notices.

“As water consumption charges are determined by the amount of water consumed as per meter readings, these notices will continue to be issued in two half-yearly notices in October and April,” Cr Pennisi said.

The move comes on the back off the recent budget delivering a zero per cent rate rise until the end of 2020 to support the community throughout the pandemic.

The rise of 1.9 per cent, the lowest in more than a decade according to the council, will be offset by a COVID-19 concession, which when applied on the rates notice equates to no cost increase for the next six months.

MONEY TALKS: Warwick residents will be able to better manage their finances thanks to the change.
MONEY TALKS: Warwick residents will be able to better manage their finances thanks to the change.

Cr Pennisi said rates ensuring infrastructure and maintenance projects were delivered to our region.

“Your rates are invested directly back into your community to provide important infrastructure and services that make our region a better place to live and work including sporting fields, libraries, parks and playgrounds, waste management and community services,” he said.

“Rates also support initiatives focused on protecting our environment and maintaining our roads, bridges and footpaths.”

The council will continue their discount of 7.5 per cent on the current general rates to ratepayers who pay their rates notice in full within 60 days of the notice date.

Rates and charges may be paid outside the due date subject to an agreement between the council and the ratepayer, however discounts will not apply for these arrangements.