WARRNAMBOOL City Council says "few, if any," applications to waive rates are granted amid calls from a ratepayers group for better support due to the coronavirus fallout.
Council chief executive officer Peter Schneider said ratepayers would have the opportunity to apply to defer and waive rates, as required under the Local Government Act, but believed no council "lightly" waived rates.
"All levels of government have the mechanisms to defer taxation payment until circumstances change for an individual but on few, if any, occasions is this liability waived because equity issues arise for the ratepayers who continue to pay their rates," Mr Schneider said.
"However, people do have the right to apply for deferral or waiver and each set of circumstances will be individually assessed."
As the virus forces businesses to shut and jobs to become insecure, Warrnambool Ratepayers Association president Brian Kelson said he was disappointed the council was "pushing for deferrals" when further options should be available for impacted ratepayers.
"If you only defer the amounts of money, you still have to pay at the end. We need the council to be proactive, which they certainly are not at this point in time," Mr Kelson said.
The Warrnambool City and Moyne Shire councils do not have hardship policies, instead relying on provisions that allow councils to defer rates on case-by-case basis'. Some other councils, including Corangamite Shire have formal hardship policies.
Mr Kelson said he was concerned that any decisions to relieve individual ratepayers were not directed by a council policy.
"It needs to be not a grey area, it needs to be black and white. And even then with some sort of empathy that can be used," he said.
"People should be able to look up and see if they can apply for a waiver. We don't have a policy and it's just crazy."
Mr Schneider said council revenue staff would work with each individual to understand their circumstances.
"(They'll) decide on the best plan for repayment or, in extraordinary circumstances, a waiver," he said.
The Standard revealed this week that the coronavirus had so far blown a $2.5 million hole in Warrnambool City Council's budget this financial year.
Neighbouring Moyne Shire Council announced on Thursday that it would consider a freeze on rates at current levels and waive interest on overdue rate payments starting from March 31. It will also consider waiving rent for at least three months on its commercial leases.
Corangamite Shire Council has announced it will delay interest on rate bills and also forgo any rate rises next financial year.