TOUGHER times for dairy farmers are showing through, with more late payments for Corangamite Shire Council.
A week after the February 15 deadline for annual payments, the total of unpaid overdue rates has risen from seven per cent last year to 8.4 per cent.
“Clearly we have been having more conversations with farmers now than last year about time payments or seeking extensions,” corporate and community services director David Rae said.
“The outstanding balance is higher than last year, but until we run out our final notices we won’t have a clear picture.”
Corangamite Shire Council has budgeted to collect $8.7 million, excluding municipal and waste management charges, from 2980 rateable farms, with a differential rates system set at 95 per cent of the general rate.
Mr Rae urged any property owners struggling to meet their rates obligations to contact council officers to arrange a payment system.
Moyne Shire Council said there was nothing to indicate a change to the flow of rates payments this year.
“There hasn’t been a surge in requests for arrangements at this stage, although the council would encourage anyone having difficulty with meeting the due dates for instalments to contact us,” communications officer Timothy Marshall said.
Dairy industry groups have warned of ripple effects as some farmers struggled to stay afloat with low income and higher costs.
One financial counsellor last week predicted the impact could be worse than the last drought.