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Published: 2004-02-13 00:00:00

Environment Waikato has already received 89 percent of its rates, with another three percent coming in under payment arrangements.

The Council has had an extremely positive response to its first direct rating, with only $3.9 million of the $36 million total rates outstanding and a third of that already has payment arrangements in place.

The total amount paid in by January 31 was $32,061,868. Almost 4000 ratepayers have opted to make arrangements to pay and many of those owe only about four percent of the rates due, most paying under $250 a year. Most are electing to pay quarterly and receive no penalty for paying by instalments.

Only seven ratepayers who pay over $5000 have not paid or made a payment arrangement and out of 177,000 ratepayers only 21,000 still owe money.

The rates team is now focusing on identifying ratepayers who haven’t paid and calling them. The team is taking about 300 calls a week, with about half the calls solicitors’ requests. They are also working through corrections with district councils to ensure all details are correct before next year’s rate invoices are issued.

One of the problems in an otherwise smooth direct rating process was that the Council identified early on was the accuracy of the data. A new rating Act meant many changes for the district councils.