Mildura Rural City Councillors approved the latest suite of COVID-19 relief and recovery initiatives – valued at more than $1.2million – at the Ordinary Council Meeting held on Wednesday 16 December.
The package includes $800,000 for eligible COVID-19 impacted Business Differential Ratepayers who can apply for a once-off credit to their Council rates bill of up to $2,000.
Alternatively, Business Differential Ratepayers will be able to apply for a Stimulus Grant of up to $5,000 to help re-establish their operations, invest in their business, re-generate employment and develop new services and ways of working and adapting to the post-COVID-19 economy.
Applications from eligible Business Differential Ratepayers that have experienced significant financial impact due to the pandemic will be considered.
Mayor Jason Modica said he hoped this announcement would support the local business community to re-build after an incredibly challenging year.
“A number of business sectors have been especially impacted by COVID-19. This flows on to impact employment opportunities and the overall economic prosperity and wellbeing of our entire community,” Cr Modica said.
“By offering approved businesses a credit on their rates bill or a grant to reinvest in their operations we will provide direct support to those who need it most.
“The grants are designed to assist approved businesses to adapt and respond to COVID-19 and to boost local spending.”
Mildura Rural City Council will release details about eligibility criteria, application process and application opening dates in January 2021.
Meanwhile Council has also agreed to waive the 2020-21 Waste Management Charge for 119 community, sporting and recreational groups – totalling $58,000. Earlier in the year Council waived 2020-21 rates for these groups, recognising many competitions, gatherings and events impacted or cancelled completely due to restrictions.
Other Ratepayers that are directly impacted by COVID-19 and registered for hardship with Council across the board will also have some relief, with Council extending the waiver of rates interest penalties and deferral on payments to 31 May 2021.
Councillors also allocated an additional $100,000 to offset penalty interest and fees, charge waivers and will appoint a temporary Emergency Management Officer position for two years to support ongoing emergency planning, response, relief and recovery work.