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How council plans to end rates dispute saga

Clarence Village office in Queen Street, Grafton.
Clarence Village office in Queen Street, Grafton. Adam Hourigan

A LONG running dispute between Clarence Valley Council and a non-profit aged care provider over rates could end at Tuesday's council meeting.

Last week the council's corporate governance and works committee voted to recommend the council write off $1172.98 in interest charges on unpaid rates the Clarence Village Ltd has disputed.

The company claims council still holds more than $56,000 of $72,000 in overpaid rates, that the council collected between 2010 and 2014.

The council agreed to backdate a rates exemption for Clarence Village properties to 2010 at its April meeting, but found discrepancies in between its accounts and those of Clarence Village.

The council report said this was due to the non payment of a waste management levy on one property in 2010/11 and interest on unpaid water and sewer services from December 2014 to March 2016.

During a deputation to the council committee last Tuesday, the Clarence Village board chairman, Geoff Shepherd, said charging of interest against unpaid rates while the council had more than $72,000 in overpaid rates, did not pass the pub test or the requirements of the Local Government Act.

During period July 1 2010 to June 30 2014 Clarence Village made rate payments which at that time were allocated against general rates. All up those rates allocated against general rates exceeded $72,000 at June 30, 2014.

Cr Jason Kingsley moved that the council write off the interest charges. His motion was passed unanimously.

He said the council should also apologise to Clarence Village for the time it has taken to resolve this dispute.

"This is a sign of good will for a long, drawn out saga," he said. "There is no obligation for council to write off the interest as far as I'm aware.

The council's director corporate, Ashley Lindsay, told the meeting Clarence Village had a deed of agreement to sign which could effectively bring the matter to a close.

"They're waiting for council's decision, which will come next Tuesday, to write off the interest, before they will sign," he said.

Topics:  clarence valley council rates



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