Councillors to discuss new legal advice on rates write-off

QUEANBEYAN Councillors will meet again tonight at an extraordinary meeting of Council in an attempt to write-off $3.7 million in backdated rates invoices issued to ratepayers in July.

The meeting was called after Cr Jamie Cregan tabled new legal advice at last week’s Council meeting which suggested Council staff had not followed correct procedure under the Local Government Act in issuing the backdated notices, and hence they could be declared invalid by a resolution of Council and written off.

It’s the second extraordinary meeting of Council in a month that’s been called to deal with this matter. Mayor Tim Overall expressed his sympathy to a chamber full of angry ratepayers at the August 13 meeting, and said Councillors “will be doing everything we can to get this resolved.”

Tonight’s meeting offers affected ratepayer’s another potential fix to quash the invoices should Mayor Tim Overall's meeting with NSW Local Government Minister Paul Toole- scheduled for this Friday- fail to achieve a legislative solution to the ongoing Council crisis.

However the legal advice, commissioned by Councillor Jamie Cregan from local firm Boettcher Law, warns that Councillors have just three months (or until November 1) to find a way to write off the invoices or they will be deemed valid under the Local Government Act.

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