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Council to consult on extended rates remission period for cyclone-affected properties

crop damage 1

Rates remissions for owners of red and yellow-stickered properties could be extended for up to two years under a proposal adopted by Hastings District Council this week.

As a result of ex-tropical Cyclone Gabrielle, more than 800 homes and properties suffered flood damage and numerous orchards, vineyards, farms, forestry and other businesses were also impacted.

As of May 22, 955 property assessments had been carried out. Of these, 103 assessments resulted in red stickers (entry prohibited), and 743 resulted in yellow stickers (restricted or short-term access only) being issued.

Following the event, Council automatically remitted rates for red stickered properties through to June 30 this year in recognition of the inability for people to live in these properties.

Yellow-stickered property owners still need to apply for the remission if the sticker was assigned to their main dwelling/building, with the remission period applying to both the third and fourth quarter instalments in the 2022/23 rating year.

As at May 22, 2023, remissions for stickered properties for 2022/23 totalled $706,000.

Today Council agreed to consult on changing the policy to enable the scope to be extended to include damage caused to land that did not have stickered buildings or dwellings, and to allow people to have their rates remission extended to two years if they qualified.

Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said the policy change acknowledged the devastating and ongoing impact of the cyclone on people’s lives.

“We know that recovering from this disaster is going to take quite some time, and we want to support property owners who are unable to use their properties, have had their services impacted, or who have had their income affected from damage to their land.

“Not everybody has been directly impacted by this event but we are in this together, we need to support our people to come back from this for the benefit of the whole district.”

For red-stickered properties the remission would automatically be applied to each rates instalment for a period of two years, or earlier if the primary dwellings/buildings were deemed by Council to be able to become useable/habitable.

For yellow-stickered properties, people would need to apply, and Council would have the ability to apply the remission for two years or less depending on whether circumstances changed.

People could also apply for remissions for a period of up to two years for severely eroded or impacted properties, including those with crop or pasture damage, where the land had become unusable or uneconomic.

If properties that had previously received a rates remission were sold within the two years the remission would cease, and properties would be monitored and remissions would stop if people could move back into them, or resume earning income from them.

The proposal will be going out for consultation for two weeks and, if confirmed, application forms would be available on the council website.

16 June 2023

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