Ratepayers within the Shire of Mundaring are being encouraged to contact the Shire to ask for assistance if facing economic hardship this financial year.
Annual rates notices are expected to arrive in letterboxes and email accounts this week and Shire President Cr John Daw said the Rates team was on standby to answer enquiries.
"Unfortunately the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on many households and businesses," he said.
"Since the pandemic began we have adopted a variety of relief and recovery measures to support our community. These include freezing rates for 2020/21 and our COVID-19 Financial Hardship Policy, which offers ratepayers fair, dignified and consistent support.
"Now that a new financial year has begun I want to remind all members of our community that help is only a phone call away."
Cr Daw said the COVID-19 Financial Hardship Policy explained the Shire's position on payment difficulties, hardship and vulnerability and outlined the criteria for making a hardship application.
"We will take a flexible approach when assessing individual circumstances," he said.
"This includes finding out if recent unemployment or under-employment; sickness or recovery from sickness; low income or loss of income; and unanticipated circumstances, such as caring for extended family, have affected a person's ability to pay their rates on time.
"Staff will consider all circumstances and apply principles of fairness, integrity and confidentiality while complying with the Shire's statutory responsibilities."
Under the policy, eligible ratepayers can enter into a payment arrangement. Pensioner and concession card holders may also be able to defer payment of rates.
The COVID-19 Financial Hardship policy can be downloaded from the Shire's website at https://bit.ly/3a3Wz3q or phone 9290 6666 for more information.
GRV review and rates freeze
Cr Daw said although Shire of Mundaring had not increased its rates revenue yield this year, some ratepayers would pay more and some would pay less, compared to 2019/20 due to the periodic system of revaluations of properties by the State Government, through the Valuer General.
"This is caused by fluctuations in the valuations determined by the Valuer General for each individual property, known as the GRV, and not the uniform rate in the dollar set by the Shire,' he said.
"We have done everything we can to avoid a rates rise for 2020/21," he said. "Unfortunately the State government's decision to proceed with a GRV review, despite the challenges of COVID-19, will mean some ratepayers will see an increase on their rates notice."
Cr Daw said where a commercial business can demonstrate financial hardship, the business may be entitled to rates relief.
"If this is the case for your property, and you are worried about how you will pay your rates, please contact us to discuss your situation," he said.
Learn more about GRV and how rates are calculated here.