COVID-19 is set to impact when Hamilton City Council rates are due to be paid.
Hamilton property owners are being urged to sign up to receive their rates invoices by email and pay by direct debit to lessen the impact of COVID-19 on payment due dates.
In March, the Council delayed the adoption of its 2020/21 Annual Plan from June to August to further develop its response to COVID-19, and give the community a say on proposed changes for the following 12 months.
As the Council’s rates for the coming year cannot be ‘set’ until once the Annual Plan is adopted, rates due dates for the latter half of 2020 have also been affected.
The first instalment is due on 24 September, almost a month later than usual. The second instalment is due on 26 November, two months after the first instalment.
The Council’s Rates and Revenue Manager, Matthew Bell, says the simplest way to soften the impact on due dates is to pay by direct debit.
“Setting up a direct debit is the easiest option to pay your rates,” he says.
“Your payment will always be made on time and we’ll do all the work to readjust your direct debit amount each year.
“You can pay weekly, fortnightly, monthly or quarterly. It’s up to you.”
Around 35% of ratepayers pay by direct debit and 25% receive their invoices by email.
If paying by direct debit is not an option, getting your rates invoice by email could give you an extra week between receiving the invoice and the due date.
“Signing up for emailed rates invoices means you’ll know how much to pay and the due date instantly,” says Mr Bell.
“Waiting for the post means you’ll have less time to plan for your payment.”
Each year the Council uses 164,000 sheets of A4 paper to print hardcopy invoices and uses 142,000 envelopes to post them.
“Increasing the number of ratepayers who get their invoices by email will help us reduce costs and be more environmentally friendly,” says Mr Bell.
The average annual rates increase in the 2020/21 Annual Plan is 2.8%, 1% lower than what is forecast in the 2018-28 10-Year Plan.
The invoices for the first rates instalment will be emailed and posted this week.