City of Newcastle is reminding small businesses in the CBD of more than $400,000 still on offer as part of its rates relief scheme for those impacted by the light rail construction.
To date more than 102 applications have been received, with Council paying out more than $37,000 in rate relief.
To be eligible for rate relief, a CBD business needs the property owner to have paid their first quarterly rates, which were due at the end of August this year.
Rebates have been returned to 95 applicants in the first 10 weeks of the program, which is open for the duration of the 2018/19 financial year.
Eligible properties are entitled to financial assistance amounting to half the special rate historically passed onto business improvement association Newcastle Now, which in turn used the funds to promote the CBD.
"Council took this decision to provide direct rate relief to those businesses suffering from the disruption that the construction of light rail has brought about," Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.
"We understand that for many small businesses their bottom line has been impacted, and this rate relief was a way Council could play a role in minimising the impact of light rail. Once it became clear that the State Government wasn’t going to provide rent relief, it was important that City of Newcastle looked for a way of supporting these businesses that didn’t come at the expense of our existing $100 million works program.
"There are hundreds of local small businesses that are yet to apply for rate relief. Clearly many are unaware that the funding exists or that they only need pay their first quarterly rates notice to be eligible. The process of application is straight forward, and businesses can apply at any time throughout the current financial year."
The helping hand was extended in July following the Lord Mayor' successful amendment to Council's 2018-19 budget.
Financial assistance is available:
- to the tenant(s) of the property, or
- to the property owner - providing the property is solely owner occupied and no part is leased out
Property owners are eligible for the relief after paying their first quarterly rates instalment for 2018/19.
They should complete an application form
together with details of tenants (with their signature) where applicable.
If more than one tenant occupies the property, a separate form is required for each tenant.
Council will then provide half of the amount they would have paid for the 2018/19 City Centre Special Rate in to the bank account nominated on the application form.
Both property owner and tenant(s) will be notified by email once Council makes the financial assistance payment is made.