The City of Greater Geraldton has taken possession of a property due to an excess of $300,000 outstanding on rates and rubbish charges, including penalties and legal fees, dating back several years.
In order to recover these costs, the City took possession of a property located at 1004 Chapman Road in Glenfield on 8 August 2017 under section 6.64 of the Local Government Act.
City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn stated that this action was taken as a last resort.
“This drastic action has been taken by the City because we have exhausted the legal process for recovery of the unpaid rates and charges,” he said
“We have also exhausted attempts to find negotiated solutions that would have avoided the need to exercise our powers in this way.
“The recovery action has taken a great deal of time and cost, and this was the result of the ratepayer refusing to admit at all times that he and the other titleholder on the property were obliged to pay the outstanding rates and charges, despite having no legal grounds for doing so.”
The property owner has been declared by the Supreme Court of WA to be a “vexatious litigant” and all courts the ratepayer has appealed to during the recovery process found no legal basis at all for his arguments against meeting his obligation to pay the rates and charges.
The City understands that the courts consider the ratepayer’s arguments to be based on a misunderstanding of the Commonwealth and State Constitutions and entirely lacking in legal merit.
The City is committed to exercise the powers it possesses under the law in order to provide good government to the people of Greater Geraldton.
This includes ensuring that no ratepayer unfairly avoids their legal obligation to pay rates and charges, to the detriment of the wider community.
Mayor Van Styn also added that there were options for ratepayers who were encountering financial hardship.
“We understand that some ratepayers may be faced with financial difficulties and the City offers such ratepayers a number of payment arrangements,” he said.
“There are a number of instalment options available and if someone is struggling they just need to give the City a call and discuss it with us.
“We are here to assist and we want people to know that there are a number of ways in which we can do so.”
For those looking for more information about rates arrangements call the City on 9956 6600.