OUTSTANDING RATES: North Burnett Regional Council are looking into suggestions to stem the amount of unpaid rates in the region. Picture: File.
OUTSTANDING RATES: North Burnett Regional Council are looking into suggestions to stem the amount of unpaid rates in the region. Picture: File.

Towns named and shamed for $1.7m rate debt

CONCERNS have been raised by the North Burnett Regional Council that outstanding ratepayers are using the council "as their bank".

This comes in light of the total outstanding debt across the North Burnett, totalling approximately $1,741,910.25.

Eidsvold currently holds the largest amount of outstanding rates at 28 per cent, Monto at 20 per cent, Mount Perry at 16 per cent, Gayndah at 14 per cent, Biggenden at 12 per cent and Mundubbera at 10 per cent.

Councillor for division one Paul Lobegeier said he was "very concerned" about the debt levels of ratepayers, in light of the latest finance report up to December 31.

"It seems to be our current non paying of rates is quite a large chunk," Cr Lobegeier said.

"We've got an awful lot of money sitting there."

Corporate services manager Zoe Behrendt said there had been a gradual 5-6 per cent decrease each month since the rates were last due.

"The revenue team are actively working with the debt recovery agency for those that are at the debt recovery stage," Ms Behrendt said.

"But I think the way we're going to approach this is, as we discussed before Christmas, a review of the policy of how we handle it, and the steps for debt recovery."

The report indicates of the 136 assessments referred to external debt recovery on November 11, 20 have paid in full, 60 have been moved to statement of claim, 51 have entered payment arrangements and five have made payments without entering into an arrangement.

Ms Behrendt continued, saying a lot of people who are overdue, with quite a few being genuine cases, are making payment arrangements to clear their debt.

While on the other hand, there appears to be those taking advantage of the council's system.

"There are a lot of people who know what our process is, and they're using it as their bank.

"They're waiting until they receive a phone call, or they receive a letter from the debt recovery agency saying their next stage is court, and there are quite a few people there."

Mayor Rachel Chambers then asked the finance team when they were going to review the policy.

Ms Behrendt then ensured February would be the time frame they'd be aiming to bring back suggestions to the council, to see how they can handle the situation.


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