COVID-19 PANDEMIC: COUNCIL APPROVES COMMUNITY RECOVERY AND CARE PACKAGE
During the last few weeks, we have taken several steps and precautions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. This has included closing a number of our Council managed and owned facilities, closing our Council offices and depots to the public, and reducing access to some of our public facilities (including public toilets and playgrounds), in support of the directives issued by the Tasmanian Government.
Council at its 27 April 2020 Council Meeting unanimously resolved to support and endorse a Community Recovery and Care Package aimed at reducing the financial burden caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes supporting the Local Government Association of Tasmania (LGAT) COVID‐19 Community Recovery Package.
The overall cost of the COVID-19 Community Recovery and Care Package is estimated at $1.1 million.
The situation is changing daily, and we are continuously monitoring it to ensure that we can provide a safe community for everyone within the Northern Midlands.
Councillors, management and staff thank you for your continued support and cooperation with this matter.
Rate Rise 2020/2021
Council proposes to model its 2020/21 Budget on a 0% increase in the General Rate in the dollar of assessed annual value.
This may impact upon the range of projects that can be delivered in this financial year, but will provide a saving in the vicinity of $300,000 to ratepayers.
Unfortunately these provisions may result in the need for Council to adopt a deficit budget tor the 2020/2021 period, with the aim to bringing the budget back into surplus over the coming years.
Council will provide a remission of the general rates for a period of four (4) months (1st Instalment for 2020/21) for Commercial and Sport & Recreation general rate categories with the exception of the following:
After 1 April 2020 no interest will be imposed on late payment of rates until 30 September 2020. Overdue accounts will not be referred for legal recovery until after 30 September 2020.
Council will suspend any increase for 2020/21 of Planning fees and Building fees to assist individuals and businesses to keep development progressing within the municipal area.
Council will provide a fee holiday for a period of 6 months for food registration fees, public health risk activities, on-street dining, and food vendors (mobile vans) to assist businesses re-commence trading in 2020/21. As a result, only half the annual fee will apply for the 2020/21 financial period with full payment required for the 2021/22 financial period at the normal renewal date.
Council has adopted a policy developed by the Local Government Association of Tasmania (LGAT) to assist ratepayers suffering genuine financial hardship during the declared COVID-19 emergency.
Council’s Financial Hardship Policy applies to all property owners in Northern Midlands and provides some relief to pay Council rates and charges via arrangement, deferment or remission.
Assistance can only be granted to individuals experiencing financial hardship for payment of rates on their principal place of residence.
Financial hardship is a situation where a ratepayer is reasonably unable, because of illness, unemployment or other reasonable causes during a declared state of emergency, to discharge their financial obligations. It involves an inability of the ratepayer to meet their commitments (bills), rather than an unwillingness to do so.
Hardship can arise from a variety of situations:
Council frequently enters into payment arrangements with property owners. This form of assistance is not categorised as 'financial hardship assistance'.
In these circumstances, Council will monitor progress towards clearing the debt within a specified time, but if the debt is not cleared, assistance may be considered.
The State and Federal health authorities are the lead agencies in developing and implementing Australia's response to the COVID-19 Pandemic; and in line with the recommendations of the Federal Government the Northern Midlands Council has transitioned to internet and telephone based Customer Service systems.
The health of our community and employees is of the upmost importance and Council continues to actively monitor the effects of the Coronavirus (COVOD-19) on our community and take appropriate action.
Council will actively work with event organisers to reschedule or start up events following the COVID-19 isolation restrictions.
Council will expand its budget allocation to Community Events to $75,000 in 2020/21.
All applications for event sponsorship / grants that recently closed and Annual events will be reviewed in coming months and rescheduled where necessary.
Given the economic benefits of hosting events within the municipal area, and the number of attendees these attract, Council is keen to support event organisers again as soon as it is practical to do so.
Council is working with the State Government to provide as much flexibility as possible during this period.
all planning applications currently on exhibition can be viewed online here
All applications can also be viewed by appointment during normal business hours at Council's Office at 13 Smith Street Longford. To book and appointment call 6397 7303.
Sporting groups/organisations that hire or lease council recreation facilities will be provided a lease suspension for the period from 1 April to 30 September 2020 – no fees will be payable during that period.
Lease accounts outstanding from Sporting groups/organisations to Council as at 1 April 2020 will not be due (held over) for payment until 30 September 2020.
Businesses leasing Council facilities will also be granted a lease suspension from 1 April to 30 September 2020 if hardship is being experienced during that period.
All our waste transfer stations are currently open as per normal.
location and opening hours can be found here - Waste Transfer Stations
Council has moved to virtual meetings for the foreseeable future. All Council meetings will be conducted via video conferencing.
If a member of the public wishes to ask a question during the public question time they can email up to three questions, which will be read out at the meeting and either answered or taken on notice.
If a member of the public wishes to speak on an agenda item or development application they can email a statement of not more than 300 words. the statement will be read out at the meeting.
Questions or statements can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org