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Porirua City Council is helping residents facing financial hardship by giving up to six months more for them to pay this year's final instalment in a rates deferral scheme.
“We know that many people are struggling financially because of the Covid-19 pandemic,” says Mayor Anita Baker. “Some have lost their jobs and others have had their income reduced during lockdown. This is a practical way we can help households during this difficult time to make things easier.”
The residential rates deferral scheme applies to this year's final instalment but will allow ratepayers to pay it gradually, along with their new rates when they are issued in July.
It follows the Council’s announcement last week of a commercial rates deferral scheme.
Mayor Baker says the Council’s aim is to target those most in need and to soften the economic impacts of those affected financially from the pandemic.
“We now have a scheme for residential and a scheme for commercial ratepayers - we will also be approaching the Government to ask for the cap on the Rates Rebate Scheme to be lifted.”
Early on in the pandemic the Council moved quickly to reduce the rates increase to 4.98 per cent, from a previously agreed increase of 6.75 per cent.
“Although this meant the city will have $1.2 million less in next year’s budget, it was important to respond to the pressures facing our people now. Even before Covid-19 hit, our city was facing some big bills to fix our pipes, roads and other core infrastructure to prevent flooding of homes and pollution into our precious harbour. That’s why it’s important we continue paying rates.”
To be eligible for the deferral scheme, residential and rural ratepayers will need to meet certain criteria such as redundancy and having arranged a mortgage repayment holiday with their bank.
Mayor Baker urges residents in hardship to contact the Council’s rating team on 04 237 5089 by the end of the month (May) if they want to take advantage of the scheme.
“Staff will work with you to enter a suitable payment plan and then you don’t need to worry about being charged a penalty for late payment. It’s also worth remembering that you can make more regular and smaller payments to help manage your bills. Many people make weekly payments and you can too. Just talk to our friendly rates staff,” says Mayor Baker.
14 May 2020