Media release

Paperless billing pushes rates penalties down

Friday 29 January 2016

Rates penalties charged by Otago Regional Council (ORC) have dropped by more than a third in the last two years thanks to a paperless direct debit website.

Outstanding council rates balances at 1 November each year receive a 10 percent penalty fee. The total penalties charged at that date last year were $191,263 compared with $292,448 in 2013 - a reduction of almost 35 percent.

ORC director corporate services Nick Donnelly attributed the drop to a significant increase in people paying their rates by direct debit, and increased communication between council and ratepayers.

“In September 2015 we completed the paperless direct debit website that allows ratepayers to set up direct debits without needing to complete and return a manual form,” he said.

“Communication from ratepayers about the paperless direct debit website has been very positive. There has also been a significant increase in the number of direct debit facilities that have been established,” Mr Donnelly said.

The number of ratepayers receiving their communication via email increased from 644 at June to 3,474 in November last year, a 540 percent increase.

“Emailing rating information is a win-win as it’s fairer and cheaper than traditional mail, and reduces physical waste created by council,” Mr Donnelly said.

Ratepayers who want to receive their ORC rates by email can download a form from the council website, or contact the council on 0800 474 082 or to set this up.

For more information contact

Nick Donnelly
Director Corporate Services
Ph 03 474 0827 or 0274 549 148

Stephen Woodhead
Ph 027 280 1635