BREAKING: City Council endorses business rate relief scheme

MOUNT Gambier businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to apply to have rates refunded or waived for the last quarter of the financial year.

To be eligible for rate relief, businesses must either be in receipt of JobKeeper payments, specified in the fourth COVID-19 Emergency Management Direction 2020 or be able to demonstrate a 30pc or greater loss of trade for one month as a result of the pandemic.

It follows tonight’s special council meeting where elected members discussed different support mechanisms around commercial property rate payments.

In a report tabled at the meeting, rate officers were unable to precisely determine the financial impact of waiving rates, however the report revealed it was in the vicinity of $180,000.

The original report recommended elected members endorse a cash injection of $1250 for all businesses who fall under the same rate relief eligibility.

However during debate, councillors raised concerns about the “one size fits all” approach for the city’s diverse business sector.

An amended motion was put forward by Cr Max Bruins empowering the council chief executive officer Andrew Meddle to determine successful applications for rate relief prior to June 30.

Successful applicants will receive a refund or waiver equivalent to one quarter of the rates and Regional Landscape Levy for the property.

Refused applications will be reported back to council confidentially.

“The worst case scenario for the remainder of the current financial year can be predicted and this is affordable,” Mr Meddle said in the report.

“Longer-term requests for support would also be affordable, subject to consideration against other council priorities.”

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