Rates confusion a load of rubbish
SOAPY’S Car Wash owner Paul Kelly rubbished his overdue rates bill despite council saying he went through the wrong procedure to cancel his industrial waste charge.
During last year’s rating process, council unified the systems in Stanthorpe and Warwick, which meant instead of a monthly charge for industrial waste in Warwick, across the region ratepayers paid the full annual amount with their rates notices.
According to Mr Kelly, the company responsible for collection contacted businesses offering a direct service at a lower price and without going through council.
Mr Kelly accepted the offer and when he went to pay his rates bill cancelled the industrial waste collection, deducted the cost from his payment and recalculated his new rate with the early payment discount.
At the time he was told he should pay the full amount and would be reimbursed within six months.
“But I wasn’t going to pay for a service I wasn’t going to use,” he said.
Since the payment deadline closed, Mr Kelly has received two overdue notices, the last of which charges him interest on the difference owing.
“They said I wouldn’t get charged interest,” he said.
“I’ve paid all my rates.
“I know I’m not the only one with this problem.
“I could understand if I hadn’t paid my rates, but this is different.”
However, the council said Mr Kelly had not paid his rates in full as the calculation he made to deduct the industrial waste charge was inaccurate.
“Mr Kelly had already used the council industrial waste service for a period of time before switching, so it was not correct just to delete the full industrial waste charge from his bill,” a council spokeswoman said.
“We advised him that he would need to pay the full amount in order to get his discount, as the discount period was almost over, and in the meantime we would verify how much of the service he had used, enter the changes into the system and refund him the correct amount in due course.”
The spokeswoman confirmed council made no profits from the industrial waste collection and had added it as a service to the ratepayers under a new contract with JJ Rich-ards just over three years ago.
“In some cases there have been issues as people for the first time received a rates bill with an industrial charge on it,” she said.
“Some ratepayers made adjustments themselves but those adjustments had to be accurate in order to qualify for a discount.
“The majority of customers who paid the full amount after cancelling their industrial waste from council were refunded within 30 days,” she said.