Statement from Central Coast Council regarding Pavement and Gutter Bills

Cash-strapped NSW Central Coast Council defies owing around $1million to taxpayers who apparently failed to pay for curbs and gutters dating back 16 years.

A taxpayer said A topical matter he thought it was a scam, while another called on the council, now in administration, to produce their original invoices.

Bills from the time the Beaconsfield miners were rescued and Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban got married have apparently been found thanks to a computer upgrade.

NSW Central Coast Council. (A current affair)

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Many recipients were not living at their current address when the invoices were sent.

“I think it’s ridiculous, I think it’s wrong for the board to do such things to us,” said retiree Norah, of Saratoga.

“It’s another bill on top of the bills, I don’t know what to do.

Norah is a retiree from Saratoga. (A current affair)

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“I even think the sidewalk and the gutter were there when my mom moved in and that was 30 years ago.”

While some bills date back 16 years, the Central Coast Council has given residents just 30 days to pay and is threatening to send in debt collectors.

“They can come and rip out the gutter,” said taxpayer Craig, who was billed nearly $400.

Blackwall resident Craig. (A current affair)

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“It’s weird, it’s irresponsible, it’s just a money grab.”

Craig remembered when the gutter outside his home in Blackwall came in.

“There was a bit of a fight about it because they actually charged the residents after they dropped it off.

Deborah received a bill for $978.54. (A current affair)

“This group is almost as big as the old (dismissed) board of jesters.”

Neighbor Deborah, who only moved into her house a few years ago, said there was no way she was paying a $978.54 bill.

“Absolutely, absolutely ridiculous,” she said.

Former councilor Greg Best said Central Coast Council had already apologized for attempting a massive rate hike and that was icing on the cake.

Cash-strapped NSW Central Coast Council defies owing around $1million to taxpayers who apparently failed to pay for curbs and gutters dating back 16 years. (A current affair)

“These people were sent to the right side of the board, not to crucify the taxpayers,” he said.

It’s unclear exactly how many residents have received the bill, with the council saying it’s down to just 590 taxpayers, although it suggested in a public statement late last month that around 4,000 of its estimated 140,000 customers have received an invoice.

LATE LAST MONTH

“In January 2022, Central Coast Council issued Debtor Statements to a small portion (less than 3%) of its customers advising them of current and historical unpaid charges.”

TODAY

‘Central Coast Council has written to 590 paying customers explaining why they have received debtors’ statements of unpaid current and historic charges, in relation to the services they have received.’

CLARIFICATION

“The Council has issued statements to less than 3% of taxpayers, but only 590 have debit balances. The remaining statements have zero or credit balances.”

Statement from the Central Coast Council:

The Central Coast Council has written to 590 paying customers to explain why they have received debtor statements regarding current and historical unpaid charges, in relation to the services they received. A recent upgrade to the technology system means that an outstanding debt of around $1 million has been identified as two systems (former Wyong and Gosford councils) rolled into one system. Part of this unpaid debt is related to historical legal fees for curbs and gutters. Thousands of taxpayers have paid these costs when due for these services and the unpaid debt is relative to a small portion of the taxpayers.

No inflation or interest has been applied to these outstanding debts.

The Council acknowledges that this matter may have caused concern to some ratepayers and asks all ratepayers who have questions regarding these returns to please contact the Council through the Council’s 24/7 online customer service center at www.centralcoast.nsw.gov.au or by calling 1300 463 954. The Council has a debt and hardship collection policy and will engage with affected customers about their personal circumstances.

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