Draft Rates Remission and Postponement Policy

Southland District Council is reviewing its Remission and Postponement of Rates Policy.

This policy specifies the circumstances where Council will consider remitting or postponing rates.

A remission is where Council reduces the amount of rates to be paid. A postponement is where Council delays the payment of rates.

We want your feedback on a number of proposed changes.

The key proposed changes to the existing policy would mean:

  • Council could pass a resolution to provide rate remissions or postponements for significant extraordinary circumstances, such as earthquakes, floods and pandemics.
    Set criteria and conditions for remission and/or postponement would be required, but this would allow Council to respond more quickly and assist groups/properties affected at the same time, rather than assessing individual ratepayers (which is already provided for in the current policy). This would replace the existing provisions for remissions for natural disasters and emergencies in the current policy and give Council the option to remit or postpone rates in a wider range of circumstances.
  • Council could more easily remit rate penalties
    The policy would allow for more flexibility for Council to remit rate penalties by introducing a remission for temporary penalty holds, direct debit agreements and other circumstances, aimed at encouraging ratepayers to bring their accounts up to date
  • Where small balances are uneconomical to collect, these would be written off
  • Facilities used for “community service” and “healthcare” would be included on the list of community facilities eligible for rates remission
  • It would be made clear that community facilities which receive operational funding from government or associated agencies are not eligible for a rate remission whereas facilities that receive funding for capital projects (typically one-off grants) would be eligible

Other parts of the policy that allow for remission and postponement of rates for individuals in particular circumstances, are not proposed to change.

Please note that because remissions reduce rates, if any remissions were to be made under this policy, Council would effectively forgo income which would mean it would need to charge other ratepayers more to cover this cost. 

Please have a read of the key documents, then let us know what you think.

We want to know if you agree with the proposed changes or if you have suggestions regarding the policy.

If you have any questions, please contact Nicole Taylor on nicole.taylor@southlanddc.govt.nz

Consultation opens on Friday 12 March and closes on Wednesday 14 April.
Please note that your submission, including your name, will become a public document.