Ratepayers get extension over blunder

File picture.

File picture.

Almost 3000 Shoalhaven ratepayers will now be granted an extension to pay their rates after it was confirmed thousands of Shoalhaven City Council rates notices were sent after a deadline specified in the Local Government Act.

Earlier this week, Shoalhaven City Council general manager Russ Pigg said there had been "no blunder made by council", saying rates notices had been served by an August 1 deadline, in accordance with the Local Government Act, despite an initial delay.

"This entire issue has become a monumental storm in a teacup," Mr Pigg said on Tuesday.

However, on Friday, Mr Pigg said he had since received advice from the council's rates contractor, Forms Express, that a batch of rates notices were posted after the specified deadline.

"Unfortunately, on August 5, Forms Express contacted council to advise that 6892 notices were not served on time - out of 56,091 mailed out - to meet the requirements of the Local Government Act," Mr Pigg said.

"Council is therefore required by the act to extend the due date for those affected by this delay.

"It is now known that there are 2796 individual ratepayers affected.

"Council is writing to each and every one of those affected to advise they now have an extended deadline to pay their first instalments."

Mr Pigg said the council was "very disappointed" the advice from Forms Express came after the council twice made public statements advising there would be delays in rates notices but no payment extensions.

"At that time, council had acted in good faith on information provided by Forms Express who had advised council that all notices had been posted on July 30," Mr Pigg said.

Shoalhaven councillor Andrew Guile said it was worth noting the section of the council that handled the collection of rates had seen staffing almost completely turned over as part of a council restructure.

"Despite a number of staffing changes, our rates staff have continued to operate at an extremely high standard over the past year," Mr Pigg said.