March 20, 2019
South Burnett Regional Council will put 35 properties with a combined unimproved value of more than $3 million up for auction to recover $854,226 in unpaid rates.
At Wednesday’s meeting, Councillors voted to sell the properties unless the owners take immediate steps to get their accounts in order.
Mayor Keith Campbell said all 35 properties had three years outstanding rates and charges against them.
Property owners had been issued with at least two reminder notices per rates notice, as well as a warning letter after the rates were two years in arrears.
All owners were then sent a final notice last December, demanding they either pay the overdue rates or arrange a repayment plan with Council.
Officers reported none of the owners had taken any action to address their arrears, and the outstanding amount seriously impacted Council’s cash flow.
Finance portfolio chair Cr Ros Heit said the situation was unfortunate.
“Nobody wants to sell anyone’s property, but we also need to be fair to the rest of our ratepayers,” she said.
“Our staff work really hard and work with ratepayers to try and help them.
“They (ie people in arrears) don’t necessarily have to come up front with all the money, but they do have to come up with an approved payment plan.
“So I encourage these property owners to talk to us and talk to our staff to come up with an arrangement, because this is not what we want to do.”
The 35 properties – which are listed in the Council’s March meeting minutes – by will be put up for auction in the near future.
Owners will have until the day of the auction to make a repayment arrangement.
Under the Local Government Regulation 2012, the Council is legally obliged to take action to sell any property where rates are three or more years overdue.
Any lots that remain unsold after the auction will become Council’s property.