COUNCIL: Bundaberg Regional Council building.
Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail
COUNCIL: Bundaberg Regional Council building. Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail Max Fleet BUN211013BRC3

Bundy rates collection has improved

RATES collection has improved in the Bundaberg region in the last 12 months.

Mayor Jack Dempsey said the improved debt collection was a positive for the region.

"One of the good aspects we are seeing as a new council in the first two budgets we have the lowest average rate rise across the region in our history," he said.

"Our goal is to keep striving forward to get it down to CPI figure."

A total of $82.5m in rates was raised by the in July.

By October 31, the rates debtor balance was $6.8 million, compared to $7.9m at the same time last year.

Cr Dempsey said more residents were paying their rates on time and there were seven steps to assist them.

He said improved debt collection processes saw the outstanding rates reduce from 10.3 per cent last year to 8.2 per cent this year.

The mayor said last year 67 houses were listed for sale as the owners had not paid rates within three years.

Cr Dempsey said there was only about 43 listed this year.

"Council certainly has a lot of assistance in place," he said.

"There are seven steps that people process before they even get to the rates recovery process.

"I do encourage people to work in with council before it gets to this stage."

Cr Dempsey said, as a new council, he and his colleagues sought to reduce the cost burden on ratepayers.

Out of the rates collected by the council, 22 per cent were on a rate base which included some form of pension, Cr Dempsey said.

"To put that into perspective Cairns is nine per cent and Townsville is seven per cent ," he said.

"We give back $8-10 million in discounts and incentives.

"That's why we are trying to do this Open for Development stuff to stimulate growth, not just in residents but bringing businesses to the place."

Cr Dempsey the council continued to try to drive rate increases down to no more than CPI, which would cover the council for electricity, water and wage bills.

All but two councillors were present at yesterday's meeting.

Division 8 councillor David Batt is on unpaid leave while he runs for state parliament, and Division 10 councillor Peter Heuser, who was an apology due to illness.



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