Hardship rates waiver hits snag

Ratepayers, both residential and commercial, who qualify under COVID-19 hardship criteria, look set to get a rates waiver in the first quarter of the new financial year.

 

This is despite councillors having voted down a motion that Cr Marli Banks out forward to this effect.

 

Left: Committees chairpersons Crs Cocking, Auricht and Melky, in council’s boardroom, Cr Banks at home, for last night’s Zoom meeting. 

 

As councillor decisions in the form of motions (whether supported or lost) trump officer decisions, how could this be? asked Cr Banks at last night’s committee meetings.

 

She obviously wants the relief measure to go ahead but she also questioned its legality in terms of council processes.

 

She had asked CEO Robert Jennings earlier in the day to get advice from council’s solicitor on the position.

 

Mr Jennings told the meeting that the situation is not covered in council’s by-laws in a way that gives any guidance. He would have to do further research.

 

Councillors Eli Melky and Glen Auricht acknowledged the “predicament”.

 

It is expected officers will provide procedural clarity at the end of month meeting.

 

 

– Kieran Finnane

 

 

 

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