A report was presented to the Narrabri Shire Council at its April meeting regarding proposed changes to the existing Debt Recovery Policy.
It suggests allowing for an early intervention service to assist ratepayers who are experiencing difficulties in meeting their financial obligations.
“Council resolved to place the draft Debt Recovery Policy on public exhibition, with submissions from locals being accepted prior to submitting the policy for formal adoption,” a spokesperson said.
“The suggested Compassionate Intervention Clause will enable council to work with ratepayers at an early point in the debt recovery process.
“This will allow council and ratepayers to work together before the debt accumulates to an unmanageable level.”
“The increase in the level of outstanding debt concerning council rates over the past few years is strongly attributed to the effects of prolonged drought and COVID-19, which has put a financial strain on a number of our ratepayers,” Mayor Ron Campbell said.
“The inclusion of this clause to the Debt Recovery Policy will assist at-risk ratepayers prior to their debt becoming out of control and causing unnecessary stress.
“This is another example of the many initiatives that council has implemented as means to assist ratepayers in meeting their obligations over the past 12 months,” he said.
Cr Campbell referred to council’s decision last June not to increase rates for the 2020/2021 financial year, it’s imposed zero per cent interest charge for July 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020, and the deferral of the first installment of rates for August 31, 2020 to September 30, 2020.
“All of these measures have been implemented to assist our ratepayers during these unprecedented times and demonstrates council’s understanding and compassion during times of hardship.”
The draft Debt Recovery Policy is currently on public exhibition and can be viewed at council’s administration building and via its website.
Written submissions will be received up until 5pm on Monday, May 31, 2021.
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