Mitchell Shire Council is encouraging community members to access new hardship support options if they are unable to pay their fourth instalment rate notices due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The notices will be sent out shortly with instalments due by May 31. Council is aware the ability for some community members and businesses to pay rates has been significantly diminished.
People can apply for a payment extension to the end of June and further arrangements can be discussed on a case by case basis.
Council is also waiving interest charges on overdue accounts until June 30 and can provide options for people who are already on payment plans.
Mitchell Shire Mayor David Lowe said council understood the situation was causing financial stress.
“We want everyone to know there are options for them and we will provide hardship support to anyone who needs it,” he said.
In addition to these immediate support measures, council is advocating to the state and federal governments to help support the community and the delivery of essential services provided by local government.
Mitchell ratepayers are also encouraged to sign up for online rates notices. Making the switch can be done online with the rates notice reference number at mitchellshire.vic.gov.au
Phone 5734 6200 during business hours to request a copy of a rate notice, to register for electronic delivery, to activate hardship arrangements or to update a payment plan.
Also under discussion is council’s 2020-21 budget. As part of council’s budget preparation process, which was well under way before COVID-19, a draft budget has been released for community input.
Council is seeking advice from the Victorian Government about this legal requirement, as the budget will change significantly because of the COVID-19 impacts.
Ratepayers and other community members are still encouraged to provide input to the draft budget at engagingmitchellshire.com
Hard copy submissions can also be made.
Submissions close on April 22.
For information, phone 5734 6200.