Ordinary Council Meeting - 11 May 2017
LATE AGENDA Page
9 General Manager Report
9.14 Write off of Unpaid Rates - Lot 2 DP 359393, Wallace Street, Macksville - Est Williams, Hahn and Redaelli........................................................................................................................... 2
AUTHOR/ENQUIRIES: Michael Coulter, General Manager
A summary is not required.
That Council endorse a write off of $26,824 in unpaid rates in respect of Lot 2 DP 359393, Wallace Street, Macksville.
Council can seek to negotiate a larger payment, however it should be noted that the Macksville Country Club has limited capacity to pay and its operations only remain viable with the assistance of volunteers.
This land was part of a process undertaken in 2014/2015 to clear Councils rates book of a large number of separately rateable small parcels where for a range of reasons the property owners were no longer paying Council rates. Sometimes the parcels seem to have been mistakenly left off the transfer of holdings and have remained with the original owners.
In the case of Lot 2 DP 359393, Wallace Street, Macksville, it is an irregular shaped parcel of 1,549m2 and has been, for all intents and purposes, part of the Macksville Country Club. The land is shown on the plan attached.
The ownership of the land was registered in the names of T H Williams, H C Hahn and A L Redaelli (all of whom are now deceased) and was subject to a caveat regarding a trust deed. It is understood that the land was part of the Macksville golf course and never transferred when the Club became a company. The Council staff met with the Golf Club in 2004 to try and get the Club to legalise an ownership transfer but this was not successful.
In 2014 the parcel formed part of a resolution from Council to sell land for unpaid rates. The land was to be disposed of by public auction however the Golf Club requested that this not be pursued and they undertook to organise a change in ownership.
The Macksville Country Club Limited has now advised Council that they have secured legal ownership of the land.
The land only contains an area of 1,549m2 and its shape is such that it had no likelihood of having any development potential in its own right. Accordingly its most recent valuation was only $2,920. However with rating the Council’s Rates Officer was obliged to levy the minimum rate of $794.43 to the land and as this has been applied over many years with interest charges for unpaid rates, the outstanding rates balance for the land now stands at $27,618.
The Secretary of the Macksville Country Club and their Honorary Solicitor met with the General Manager and Council’s Rates Officer yesterday to try and reach agreement as to the outstanding rates which the Club should pay. The Club’s representatives noted that their financial survival depends on significant volunteer labour and their profit in the last financial year was a modest $6,000 with a substantial loss the year before that. They also incurred significant time and expense in securing the ownership of the land.
In the circumstances I advised the Club’s representatives that I would recommend the write off of the arrears of $26,824 with the Club being legally liable for the current year’s rates on the land of $794.43.
The General Managers delegation of authority for the writing off of debts is limited to an amount of $5,000.
As this debt well exceeds this limit it is recommended that the Council endorse the write off.
There has been consultation with Council’s Rates Officer and the Golf Club.
There are no implications for the environment.
The financial sustainability of the golf club would be an issue if they were required to pay all of the outstanding rates.
There are no economic implications.
There are no identified risks.
Direct and indirect impact on current and future budgets
Council’s budget only makes provision for $10,000 for the write off of bad debts. Accordingly the recommendation will mean a realised loss of at least $16,000.
Source of fund and any variance to working funds
There will be a negative impact on working funds of at least $16,000 (depending upon the quantum of other bad debts written off).
Service level changes and resourcing/staff implications
There are no service level or resourcing/staff implications. The resolution of the ownership of the land will avoid Council staff time in following up the rates payable. The parcel will be amalgamated with the remainder of the Golf Club’s holding and there will be no discernible difference in the rates the Golf Club pays.
17203/2017 - Lot 2 DP 359393