Council auctioning properties over unpaid rates

Wagga City Council will send half a dozen properties to auction in a bid to claw back unpaid rates.

An auction will be held on Saturday to sell two houses, a vacant residential block and three farmland parcels as council tries to take back some of an accumulated quarter of a million dollars in rates left unpaid for at least five years on 29 different properties.

Including the more than $254,000 in unpaid rates balances of more than five years, there is a total of $4.5 million outstanding rates from 4617 properties in the Wagga City Council local government area.

Under NSW Government legislation, councils have the ability to sell properties with outstanding rates balances that date back more than five years.

Two houses - one at 24 Spring Street, central Wagga, and one at 41 Hillary Street, North Wagga, – which have been deemed unoccupied will go under the hammer.

The Spring Street property has outstanding council rates and charges of $21,493.73, while the property in Hillary Street has accumulated debts of $6592.23.

A vacant residential block at 48 Faye Avenue is $7779.77 in the red.

At Oberne Creek, a farmland parcel at 2444 Westbrook Road has wracked up a debt of $4903.78, while a property at 2539 Hume Highway, Tarcutta, will be auctioned to clear outstanding debts of $1918.82.

At Book Book, a property in Brooklyn Lane has outstanding debts of $2979.26.

Wagga City councillors in March decided to begin the process to sell off land if an agreement could not be reached between the owners and council.

The owners get the balance of the sale, after the rates, interest and costs are removed.

Council last undertook a sale of land for unpaid rates in 2010 and this is the only auction due to unpaid rates this financial year.

The auction will be held on Saturday from 11am at the Wagga Civic Centre, handled by Peter Campbell Real Estate.

“The City of Wagga can only wear the financial burden for so long before it has an impact on other ratepayers and residents,” chief financial officer Natalie Te Pohe said.

“The sale process is a last resort and we would much prefer the property owners contact the City to discuss and negotiate an agreed payment plan. Rates are a core part of the City’s budget and make many projects and services possible.”