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 ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The notices will be sent out shortly, with instalments due by May 31.
Council is aware that the ability for some community members and businesses to pay rates has been significantly diminished by COVID-19.
People can apply for a payment extension to the end of June and further arrangements can be discussed on a case by case basis.
“We understand the situation is causing financial stress,” Mayor David Lowe said.
“We want everyone to know there are options for them and that we will provide hardship support to anyone who needs it.
“Looking ahead beyond the fourth instalment notice, we are advocating to the state and federal governments to provide extra support to help councils continue to deliver essential services for communities and businesses, to continue to provide local jobs and to support the ongoing recovery effort.”
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 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 www.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 prior to 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 www.engagingmitchellshire.com
Hard copy submissions can also be made.
Submissions close on Wednesday, April 22. For details, phone 5734 6200.