- Tuesday 30 June 2009
Sunshine Coast pensioners will receive $4.4 million dollars in property rate remissions in the 2009/10 financial year.
Social policy portfolio councillor, Cr Anna Grosskreutz, said the remissions provided a welcome relief to those already struggling to cope with skyrocketing costs for everyday items like food, fuel and electricity.
"Council’s pensioner remission policy shows that we understand that our ratepayers come from all walks of life and are deserving of this small measure of assistance,” Cr Grosskreutz said.
“It also shows that our eligible pensioners currently receiving a remission will not be disadvantaged and any new applications for the remission are standardised across the region.
“To do this, council has introduced a grandfather clause so that existing eligible pensioners, as at 30 June 2009, are not disadvantaged by the new scheme”
The grandfather clause will apply from 1 July 2009 and will allow ratepayers currently receiving a ratepayer remission to retain their 2008-2009 remission if:
i) they do not qualify for the new standard remission or
ii) the new standard council remission is less than the council remission they received in 2008-2009.
Following the recommendations presented by the Rating Reference Group, council adopted a new Pensioner Remissions Policy effective 1 July 2009:
- pensioner remissions to apply for full-pensioners
- a separate level of remissions for single full-pensioners as distinct from a couple on a full-pension
- continue with current State Government eligibility criteria for full pensioners
- pensioner remissions to be calculated on gross rates
- a maximum pensioner remission of $280 for single pensioners and $230 for a couple on a full pension, based on 30 per cent of gross rates
- For ratepayers suffering financial hardship, council has also introduced an option to defer the payment of general rates,” Cr Grosskreutz said.
“In particular, the deferment will assist eligible pensioners.”
Eligible ratepayers are now able to defer up to 50 per cent of their general rates. For example, a ratepayer with a general rate bill of $1,068 per annum would be entitled to defer $534 per annum.
The deferred rates will accumulate as a debt against the property until it is sold or until the death of the ratepayer.