Rate relief on offer for businesses

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Commercial property owners could be eligible to have rates waived or refunded for the last quarter of 2019/2020 as a further action under the 'Our City. Our Response' COVID-19 strategy.

City of Mount Gambier will provide rate relief to businesses whose activity has been significantly impacted by COVID-19. At a special meeting of Council, held Thursday 7 May 2020, Council endorsed the move to refund or waive the equivalent of one quarter of the rates and Regional Landscape Levy, on application, for commercial properties based in Mount Gambier.

The move is another step in Council’s ‘Our City. Our Response’ COVID-19 strategy that has been rapidly developing since the pandemic began and follows a recent survey conducted by Council to assess how the current circumstances are affecting the local business community.

Council took steps at the first COVID-19 related meeting to provide support to all ratepayers in the way of deferrals and fines and interest waivers, however as the economic downturn has been realised there was a strong desire to provide local relief to business.

- - City of Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin

“The business survey results indicated that a large number of respondents identified cash flow as one of the key priorities for their business, with rate relief being one of the best ways Council can assist them at this time," Mayor Martin said.

To be eligible for rate relief businesses must have a land use code of ‘commercial’ as described on the most recent rates notice and be able to meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • A business specified in ‘Emergency Management (Non-Essential Business and Other Activities No 4) (COVID-19) Direction 2020’,
  • Be in receipt of Federal Government JobKeeper payments, or
  • Ability to demonstrate a 30 per cent or greater loss of trade for one month or more due to COVID-19.

While it is not possible to determine the exact figure until applications are processed, the rate relief measure is expected to have a significant but affordable impact on Council’s budget.

“Council has been fiscally responsible for many years and so even without knowing the total cost, we know this is a measured approach that is within our means at present,” Mayor Martin said.

Council delegated authority to the Chief Executive Officer to determine applications for commercial rate relief until 30 June 2020.

The move follows a resolution of Council at the special meeting held Tuesday 5 May 2020 authorising the CEO to waive fees and charges associated with outdoor dining until 30 June 2021.

“Waiving of outdoor dining fees and charges is just one of the many ways Council continues to ease the financial burden caused by COVID-19 and is a further step to ensuring our businesses can re-open sooner rather than later with socially distanced dining,” Mayor Martin said.

Ratepayers experiencing hardship can contact Council in any of the following ways to confidentially discuss their options:

  • Commercial ratepayers can complete an application form for rate relief here
  • Call and speak with a Rates Officer on (08) 8721 2561
  • Email [email protected] or
  • For all other enquiries submit a Rates Enquiry Form.

“Rate relief for businesses also follows the recent Council endorsement of the 2020/2021 draft budget that outlines a zero percent rate increase and multimillion dollar COVID-19 stimulus,” Mayor Martin said.

Stay up-to-date with Council’s response to COVID-19 at www.haveyoursaymountgambier.com.au/covid-19

Ewan Grant

11 May 2020

Article by:

Ewan Grant




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