Wave of recommendations support money-saving measures for households and businesses under Singleton Council’s Community Support Package
Singleton Council will consider a number of reports to continue its commitment to $1.8 million in measures to support the community in COVID-19 at its virtual meeting on Monday, including rent reductions on Council-owned buildings and a revised Hardship Policy to facilitate a rates and charges rebate scheme.
Waiver of a range of fees and charges, including Open Space and Facilities charges for group fitness, are also proposed as part of Council’s Community Support Package to be presented to the meeting for approval.
General Manager Jason Linnane said the recommendations built on Council’s commitment to assist households, community organisations and businesses to survive and recover from the impacts of COVID-19.
The proposal includes waiving fees between 1 April and 30 June for:
- Overdue fees at Singleton Public Library
- Reprinting and/or email copy of rates or water notices
- Notification period for cessation of care for Colleen Gale Childrens Services and OOSH
- Environment and Public Health Approvals for food shops/vendors
- Liquid Trade Waste Access Charge
- Use of Roads/Footpaths Section 138 Application and Agreement Fee
- Application fee for monument approval at public cemeteries
- Sports fields hire per day (for teams from outside the LGA) and group fitness or other commercial classes trainer registration
- Application fee and access fee for reserve access
“We promised to review all of Council’s fees and charges, and we’re following through with a number of areas where we can provide relief that add up to more than $118,000,” Mr Linnane said.
“That’s in addition to a reduction of one quarter of the annual rent for tenants of Council-owned buildings for the period from 1 April 2020 to 30 June 2020.
“Many of our tenants are community organisations, and this measure recognises their inability to hold fundraising events because of COVID-19 restrictions and will go some way to easing the burden on their financial resources.”
Mr Linnane said the revised Hardship Policy would allow Council to reduce or waive interest charges on overdue rates, as well as apply rebates to offset the increase in rates, waste and water and sewer fixed charges between the 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 financial years.
The process will be quick and easy for residential, farmland and business ratepayers to apply, and simple for Council staff to administer.
“The review of the Hardship Policy allows us to extend the current provisions to support the business community as well as residential and farmland ratepayers, and to formally provide the rates and charges rebate scheme to support those who have been financially affected by COVID-19,” Mr Linnane said.
“That means eligible ratepayers will not pay one cent more for rates, waste, water and sewer fixed charges in 2020/2021 than they did in 2019/2020 – just as we’ve promised.
“This is the right action to take for our community at this time, and we are proud to be providing this kind of support.
“Yes, it will have an impact on Council’s finances, but we are fortunate to have the capacity to cover the cost to support ratepayers in difficult circumstances without having to cut services, reduce maintenance of assets, or lay off staff.”