Rate relief plan accepted

Rate relief plan accepted

A plan to provide additional rate relief to two groups of ratepayers bushfire impacted property owners and commercial/industrial properties – has been adopted.

East Gippsland Shire Council will allocate $3.62 million for rate waivers and other measures to support the community.

This will be funded by the Council Assistance Fund provided by the Victorian Government to councils affected by the bushfires. East Gippsland is receiving $3.62 million from the fund.

Council resolved that three years’ rates – 2019/20, 2020/21 and 2021/22 – will be waived for all properties where the main dwelling has been destroyed or is assessed as needing demolition as a result of the 2019/20 bushfires.

For years 2020/21 and 2021/22, the waiver applies until the date that the property is sold, transferred to new owners, or a new dwelling is rebuilt on the land, whichever comes first.

All properties classified as commercial/industrial will receive a rate rebate, as a percentage reduction, for the 2019/20 and 2020/21 rating years. The rate rebate will not apply to telecommunication, gas and electricity infrastructure and vacant land properties. It excludes any municipal or waste charge.

The allocations will total:

  • $1,082,000 allocated over three financial years for fire impacted properties;
  • $1 million for commercial/industrial properties in 2019-20 and a further $1 million in 2020-21;
  • $475,000 to support the loss of council’s rate base for a three-year period;
  • $63,000 for services for bushfire fencing collection to address illegal dumping of the material.

Mayor, Cr John White, said the events of the summer had placed considerable strain on the local community and council has been working on strategies to best support the community in its recovery.

“One area has been securing this Victorian Government support and putting together a package that will benefit those most in need, and also help the broader community,” Cr White said.

“We recognise this recovery won’t happen quickly, so taking a longer term view with our support, over three years in respect to some of these rate waivers, should give people some certainty in challenging times.”

This rate support follows council’s decision last November to provide$1.51 million rate assistance for droughtaffected farmers.

Cr White said that while assessment of all fire impacted properties is still to be completed, preliminary information has been used to calculate the approximate impact on council’s rate base.

“This data includes the value of main dwellings that have been destroyed or significantly damaged as a result of the bushfire,” he said.

The proposed rate rebate for all properties classified as commercial/industrial in council’s rates data base would provide a similar percentage re-bate amount over a two-year period as the rate rebate applied to farm properties through the Local Government Services Support Payment in January 2020.

Ratepayers who are to receive a rate waiver or a rebate will be issued with amended rate notices soon.