FOR many years charities, service groups and religious organisations have not been required to pay rates on buildings they own.
Leeton Shire Council recently undertook a review of what was referred to as non-rateable properties as and recommendations were made to ensure legislative compliance, consistency and transparency related to any relief or subsidies applied.
In a report to council, finance manager Jackie Hawkins said this review of non-rateable properties found council "has abandoned rates on about 180 properties".
"The majority of these properties have had their annual charges raised correctly under the Local Government Act Act, but some properties have had various rebates and subsidies applied that do not comply with the Act," she said.
"All of the organisations did voice their concerns (regarding having to now pay rates), but since these discussions we listened to what they said and that's why we have applied the three different types of subsidies."
With this in mind, council has now adopted a policy that outlines set discounts and subsidies that will comply with the legislation.
The affected organisations have been notified by council of these changes.
Most of these groups will need to pay their rates, but will be entitled to discounts of between 80 and 90 per cent.
However, full costs will be applied for water usage and waste collection charges to religious organisations.
Councillors have also added an additional resolution that will allow the general manager at her discretion to apply a 100 per cent subsidy to landowners who are not-for-profit organisations that can prove financial hardship.
This motion was put forward by mayor Paul Maytom.
"The last thing we want is to see these small organisations just give up ... but hopefully with these subsidies it will help," councillor Maytom said.