Check the rates notice fine print
WARWICK Senior Citizens is warning older ratepayers in the Rose City to read the small print on their rate notices.
The association’s publicity officer Michael McEniery made the comments after hearing of retirees missing out on pensioner discounts.
“I would urge all seniors to check and make sure they have all their entitlements,” he said.
“Some elderly residents aren’t used to dealing with forms and paperwork, but it’s important to check carefully.”
One Warwick woman, who did not want to be named, contacted the Daily News to say she hadn’t received her discounts.
She said she had been anxiously waiting for her account, concerned how she and her husband would pay a major rates rise.
“Our rates have increased, but it wasn’t until I looked at the account detail I realised the council hadn’t given us a pensioner discount,” she said.
“They also hadn’t given us a pensioner discount on the fire levy.”
She said in 2009 the Southern Downs Regional Council pensioner discount had been $180, which coupled with a fire levy discount of $24, equated to a “sizeable” amount.
“If similar amounts are discounted from our rates notice this year then it will be similar to last year,” she said.
“We are paying about $1780, if we pay before the due date.
“We just have a basic house, it’s the same place we have lived for more than 20 years and rates are one of our biggest expenses.”
She said “very careful” budgeting was the only way she and her husband could meet her rates commitments.
“Everything has gone up electricity, gas, food and groceries, so we do find it difficult,” she said.
“We have to put aside $75 a fortnight just for rates, which doesn’t leave much for us.
“You just get used to not buying anything but necessities. I hesitate now to even buy a block of chocolate.”
Presents for their grandchildren had also been downsized in recent years as the elderly couple struggled to meet their budget commitments.
The local pensioner said she had contacted the SDRC yesterday when she realised the pensioner discount had not been included on her account.
A Southern Downs Regional spokeswoman said they had “received a few calls” relating to pensioner discounts and were checking data but had not yet found nay errors.