Rates to be invoiced as usual but scope to avoid penalties

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Central Otago residents will be invoiced for the fourth quarter of the 2019-20 rates period as usual but there is scope to avoid penalties in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Central Otago District Council’s executive committee met online under urgency on Tuesday to discuss issues that needed to be addressed before lockdown measures were lifted.

Mayor Tim Cadogan told the committee the nature of the meeting was a first for the council but the two items on the agenda could not wait.
Council executive manager corporate services Leanne Macdonald said the council had explored not applying penalties for the fourth quarter but legal advice indicated local authorities could not extend the due date time-frame, nor could it not apply penalties, and this meant invoices had to be sent out as usual.

This policy allowed the council to remit penalties if a ratepayer had to delay their payment past the due date, she said.
The second matter involved provisions for the hearings committee to deal with resource consents that did not require a hearing to be dealt with in a Covid-19 landscape and beyond.

Planning manager David Campbell said this was to provide the committee with a continous function during lockdown restrictions and effectively delegated decision-making to chairman Neil Gillespie on the committee’s behalf.
The procedure could be adopted permanently, Mr Campbell said.
The executive committee adopted both changes before closing its first virtual meeting in history.