ALL IN FAVOUR: South Burnett Regional councillors voted unanimously to write off the unpaid debts. Photo: File
ALL IN FAVOUR: South Burnett Regional councillors voted unanimously to write off the unpaid debts. Photo: File

Council writes off more than $450k in debt

FOR the second time this council term, councillors have unanimously voted to write off thousands of dollars worth of outstanding debt.

Last month, more than $300,000 worth of unpaid rates and interest charges were written off by council.

At the May council meeting, Mayor Brett Otto moved the resolution to approve the write-off of a further $158,740.78, which had not been collected.

All seven councillors voted in favour of the decision, bringing the total write-off figure to $467,039.12.

According to the South Burnett Regional Council's report, the highest amount owed to the council was $118,900 worth of infringements.

Sundry debtors also owed $35,423 to council; trade waste accounted for $1010; and property by law enforcement accounted for $3407 of the total.

Cr Otto said council had little success in several years of trying to recollect the money.

"Council undertook various avenues to collect the outstanding sundry debtor accounts, with several attempts to reach the identified debtors through collection letters and issuing statements of account proving unsuccessful," Cr Otto said.

"Debtor accounts that have been outstanding for more than six years or have been assessed as

uncollectable after all efforts and avenues to collect have been exhausted."

Cr Otto said he wanted to emphasise the debts which had been written off were old debts and a portion of them had been referred to a third party.

"(The debts) now sit outside the statute of limitations," Cr Otto said.

"We can't act to recover them after six years.

"A number of these debts have gone off to the State Penalties Enforcement Registry.

"The total move to SPER was $118,900.

"We are dealing with this … and should we recover some income, it will come back to us as revenue."

Deputy Mayor Gavin Jones said he didn't want residents to feel disheartened by their decision to write off the debt.

"The community will see this as another bad failing on council," Cr Jones said.

"But this council has taken the steps to try and start a fresh.

"They tried every option, exhausted a lot of effort by the staff and still hadn't been successful.

"We will try to move forward in a positive way.

"There's no real spin on it. We will cop it on the chin and do the best with the results we get."

For further information regarding the write-off of unpaid rates and overgrown allotment charges, contact council's finance section by calling 4189 9100 or emailing info@southburnett.qld.gov.au.

South Burnett

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