Council planned rates bill write off

Problems in rates billing

"I would also like to apologise to (the lessee) for the fact that the rates invoice for the outstanding rates on this property of $40,749.58 was sent to him without the courtesy of an explanation or any information regarding the options which could have been available to the owners," the letter continued.

Mr Mahoney claimed that the issue was one of many he was aware of, showing that the money spent on upgrading the council's computer systems and databases had been wasted. Staff did not follow council policies, did not comply with the rating legislation and did not understand due process. Three ratepayers who he said were facing rate increases of between $8900 and $14,800 had been told by staff that the increases were "catch ups" for underpaid rates in the past.

"This is illegal," Mr Mahoney said.

"There is no such thing as a catch-up. These invoices have resulted from wrongly-keyed data.

"Other ratepayers are simply not receiving invoices because they are not being sent to the postal address given to the council.

Staff are sending mail to empty sections with no letter boxes or buildings.

"When these invoices are returned to the council, they are put on the property file. When the owner approaches the council, staff agree that rates are owed, and penalties have been added, even though a correct postal address had been provided."

- Northland Age

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