Council looking at measures to extend rates discount period
Gympie Regional Council is putting a recommendation together for the newly elected council to extend the early payment discount on rates until July 2020 for any ratepayer who has entered into a payment plan.
This recommendation will be delivered to the new council when it sits for its first ordinary meeting.
“We appreciate it is a difficult time for the community, and some ratepayers have found themselves in challenging financial circumstances,” Gympie Regional Council CEO Bernard Smith said.
“Many of you have called us especially regarding the possibility of the discount period being extended for the payment of rates.”
“Council is still in caretaker mode given the election has now been held but the results not yet declared, and it is only Council which can make any decisions regarding the discounting of rates.”
“However, as soon as practicable after the new council is in place, officers will be putting a recommendation that any ratepayer who has entered into a payment plan, with full payment by July, will keep their discount.”
“We will continue to live stream council meetings, so you will know the outcomes as soon as they happen. “
“I’d also like to take the opportunity to thank the community for its understanding as we closed playgrounds, skate parks and other community facilities. By working together, we’re all playing our role in keeping our community safe, “he said.
For the latest COVID-19 information, visit www.gympie.qld.gov.au
There are many moments in life that stand out for all of us. Last week was one for myself when during the ordinary meeting on Wednesday, councillors were told by the Acting CFO,
“When Council adopted its budget for the 2019-2020 financial year, it forecast insufficient cash reserves at years’ end to maintain business operations.”
This comment stopped me in my tracks as we were never told this information, at any stage, during our budget deliberations for the 2019-2020 financial year. To hear this now is both frustrating and more than disappointing. I often use the metaphor of the titanic, but it’s how we as councillors feel and I’m sure how you as residents feel; we knew the iceberg was coming and did nothing about it.
And you’ve got to ask the question, why weren’t we told?
The most frustrating part is that the fallout and repercussions are huge. You can’t get past the basic fact that, had we known and addressed our financial issues back then, we wouldn’t be in the financial mess we are in now where budget cuts are not just a necessity, they are unavoidable.
Councillors continue to work on the budget and look at all options on how we can repair the damage, and we will, but it’s going to take time and we need to earn your trust by our actions.
We are on the right path, and will take another step on Thursday. A special meeting has been called to consider the appointment of a new CEO. And we will announce any decisions made as soon as we are able. There are exciting changes ahead, and a new direction for your Council.