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Published: 2002-12-02 00:00:00

Regional ratepayers are likely to receive their first direct rates invoice from Environment Waikato in August next year – and receive a discount if they pay by September.

The Regional Council will send out 166,000 rates notices for the first time in 2003. The rate is not new. Up until now Environment Waikato rates have been included in rates bills from local councils. From next year, they will be sent separately.

At its December Council meeting, Regional Councillors will consider a staff recommendation to send rates bills out in August and offer a discount to those who pay by September 20, 2003.

Staff have also recommended that only one invoice a year be sent with ratepayers either paying once, or paying by instalments over the year. There will be a range of different ways to pay including direct debit, payment by cheque, internet banking and phone banking. If the bill is not paid by November 2003 and payment arrangements have not been made, ratepayers may be charged a penalty payment.

Group Manager Finance Warren Stevens said 90 percent of Environment Waikato ratepayers will receive a total bill of less than $250. Rate income makes up 58 percent of the organisation's revenue, he said.

"Irrespective of the amount, we will be doing everything we can to make it as easy as possible for people to pay."