Lismore City Council will reduce fees and defer the commencement of interest on overdue payments by 60 days as part of a range of measures to help residents and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Council will also hold a workshop next week on the financial impact of deferring interest charged on overdue rates for a period of up to 15 months.
Council voted unanimously at an extraordinary on 27 March to implement the following measures:
- Extend the commencement of interest accruals on overdue notices by 60 days.
- Halt all legal action on overdue rates except those already before the courts.
- Reduce the minimum per week repayment for overdue rates to $25.
Council will also reduce the following fees:
- Community facility hire fees – full refunds for cancelled bookings.
- Commercial use of footpaths – no fees for a period of 15 months from 1 April 2020 to 30 June 2021 to allow businesses to re-establish.
- Community group tenancy rentals – fees waived for community groups that rent Council-owned buildings.
- Market fees – no fees from 1 April to 30 September 2020.
- Building owner fire certificate – no processing fees for one year.
Lismore Mayor Isaac Smith said Council had chosen not to borrow funds at this stage to provide rate relief with Council acknowledging that it is not in a position to increase borrowings.
The Mayor said Council would lobby state and federal governments to provide much-needed funding.
“Council will seek support from the state and federal governments to provide relief to residents and businesses. Council does not have sufficient cash reserves to waive or defer rates and we must continue delivering essential services,” he said.
“Council understands that the current COVID-19 crisis is having devastating impacts on businesses and families, and we have implemented measures to ensure we do not further disadvantage those who are already struggling.
“We are eager to hear the announcements by the Federal Government around further support for businesses including measures to protect commercial tenants.”
COVID-19 Information and Updates
Council’s COVID-19 Information and Updates page has the latest information and advice about changes to Council facilities and services. The page also contains important links to useful websites and fact sheets on assistance for residents and businesses. Residents can ask staff questions online via the Q&A function, view ongoing news updates, and join the community forum to share stories and experiences.