Ratepayers hoping for relief in paying their council bills during the coronavirus pandemic will have to wait a bit longer to find out what help is coming.
Wodonga Council last week announced that the due date for quarterly installments would be extended and interest will not be charged for overdue rates, while some Albury councillors have backed a three-month rate freeze.
But those living in the Border's smaller municipalities are waiting, as councils negotiate with state governments for financial assistance before offering rate relief.
Alpine Shire is in a unique position as 25 per cent of one year's rates have already been waived for all commercial and industrial properties as part of a $1.2 million grant from the Victorian government's council assistance fund following the January bushfires.
The council is working with ratepayers on a case-by-case basis when it comes to considering hardship circumstances.
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Wangaratta mayor Dean Rees said Wangaratta was a member of the Hume Region Councils, which has written to the governments, asking for both the one-off funding and for councils' financial assistance grants to be brought forward.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has required council to spend additional funds in order to innovatively continue to provide our services to the community," he said.
"To provide the type of financial relief we believe may be necessary, we will need federal and state assistance."
The next round of rate payments in Wangaratta are due in late-May, so the council was trying to prepare during that month.
But animal registration renewals are due sooner, on April 10.
"Council is also mindful of other costs impacted community members may be incurring at this time," Cr Rees said.
He said anyone concerned about their ability to pay should contact the council.
Federation Council was reviewing its hardship policy and planned to present it to councillors to consider.
Indigo Council planned to discuss measure to help ratepayers at last week's meeting, but that was postponed as councillors decided to practice social distancing.
Mayor Jenny O'Connor said a package of measures was being drafted for consideration, now at a briefing meeting on Tuesday.
"We are acutely aware of the stress and financial hardship that many of our businesses and residents are under and we're looking at how best to support them while at the same time, continue to provide essential services to our community," she said.
Rural Councils Victoria has also backed the need for state and federal assistance, putting the figure required at $4 million for rate relief, road repairs and stimulus for tourism.
Rural Councils Victoria chair Mary-Ann Brown said the figure was based on a package valued at 10 per cent of rural gross regional product and would help council deal with the a triple blow of the drought, bushfire crisis and coronavirus pandemic.
"There are 300,000 jobs in rural Victoria and we need to ensure that as many as possible are saved and others created for those who lose their job because of this pandemic," she said.