- Thursday 24 July 2014
Sunshine Coast Council will start a sale of land process on 205 properties which have three or more years of rates and charges owing.
Finance Portfolio Councillor Chris Thompson said auctioning properties would be a last resort, used only after council had exhausted all avenues to allow property owners time to pay.
“These property owners owe a combined amount of more than $2.1 million,” Cr Thompson said.
“We are now at the critical point of commencing the auction process, having gone through, in some cases, up to 30 contacts by council staff to encourage payment of these outstanding rates and charges.
“As well as payment plans, council officers have advised ratepayers of various options including contacting a financial counsellor, contacting their mortgagee regarding refinancing, seeking interest-free mortgage relief loans through the Department of Housing and Public Works and accessing early release of superannuation through the Department of Human Services.
“While not required to do so, council also sent letters to 292 property owners requesting payment by June 3, to provide an additional opportunity to pay.
“As a result of those letters and subsequent action, we have been successful in 87 properties being removed from the process, with 26 properties clearing debts entirely.
“Another 61 properties have collectively paid $540,000.”
Cr Thompson said council had a community responsibility to collect monies owing to it in a timely manner to finance its operations, carry out essential services and ensure effective cash flow management.
“By proceeding with this action, the rest of the community will not have to bear the financial burden of any long-term rate debts,” he said.
“Experience from previous years shows the vast majority of rates will be paid before the auction stage is reached.
“Council is proactive in recovering outstanding rates and charges and every effort has been taken to minimise the number of properties with more than three years’ outstanding rates.”