Council under fire for ‘disappointing’ rates relief
Brisbane City Council has come under fire for its "disappointing" ratepayer relief as it works to finalise one of its "most challenging budgets".
Opposition Leader Jared Cassidy accused Council of 'tinkering around the edges' and has today called on Council to provide 'genuine' relief to ease the COVID-19 financial crisis.
Cr Cassidy urged council to expand its COVID-19 relief to include a total rates freeze in the new financial year, as well as an immediate $100 rates rebate for the April-June financial quarter for impacted residents.
"So far, Brisbane has only allowed people in difficulty to kick the can down the road to September through deferred payments," Cr Cassidy says.
"Come September the underlying financial problem will still be there for many households."
Council today passed a resolution granting fourth-quarter rates remissions to not-for-profit organisations operating on private land.
However, Finance, Administration and Small Business committee chair Adam Allan made no guarantees against rates increases in the next financial year.
Cr Allan told The Courier-Mail the council was currently in the process of building the 2020/21 budget, which would be "one of the most challenging Council has had to hand down".
"As part of this process we will consider the needs of residents and the provision of infrastructure and services across the city," Cr Allan said.
"Council already has a generous package of rates discounts and remissions with $43 million in rates discounts budgeted for in 2019/20."
"As part of the relief announcement ratepayers could opt to defer their rate payments or enter into payment plans for a period of nine months.
"Council will also not be charging interest during this period, nor will we commence any recovery process for unpaid rates."
While Cr Cassidy said he 'welcomed' any relief, he called Council's current effort both "extremely modest" and "disappointing to see".
"The only financial assistance that Brisbane City Council is offering rate payers is $100,000 dollars in waived interest penalties," he said.
"We have a Council that has a $3.1 billion budget and we can certainly do better."
Originally published as Council under fire for 'disappointing' rates relief