The Hills Shire Council has announced practical support is available for those experiencing hardship during the COVID-19 crisis.
Mayor of The Hills Shire, Dr Michelle Byrne said Council approved a raft of measures that acknowledge the impacts of the pandemic on residents.
"These measures will provide a practical helping hand to those who need assistance to meet their commitments at this time," Mayor Byrne said.
"Our community expects Council to be a responsible manager of public funds, while also meeting the needs of our residents, community groups and local businesses.
"These measures strike the right balance where we can help our community through this crisis and absorb as much of the impact in a sustainable way," Mayor Byrne added.
The new support measures include:
- Council will provide child care gap fee relief for the duration of this lockdown and for future lockdowns during this financial year to families who can conclusively demonstrate a financial hardship and that they cannot attend the centre;
- The General Manager can write-off interest charges for a period of six months on outstanding rates whereby the ratepayer is able to show conclusively they are experiencing financial hardship during this financial year and have entered into a payment plan as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic;
- The General Manager can negotiate and implement deferrals of rent payments to Council for a period of up to six months and to waiver rent payments up to $20,000 for tenants who can conclusively demonstrate financial hardship linked to the COVID-19 pandemic;
- Approvals of extensions for existing work zones and temporary full and part road closures for a period equivalent to the final construction industry suspension resulting from the relevant Public Health Order and subject to no additional fees being paid by the applicant; and
- The General Manager can amend, cancel or enter into new leases as required to facilitate the Local Government Election in December.
In addition to this, the Hills Shire Library Service has brought back their popular Stay Home and Read book delivery service for seniors aged over 65. This FREE service provides participants with a selection of up to 10 items to be delivered to their door while restrictions are in place.
And the Mayor Byrne's Keep Connected initiative, which aims to boost community morale through fun activities and online workshops, including artisan bread making, kids cooking classes, gardening in small spaces and many more is now open for bookings.
For more information on Council's latest measures, eligibility and to book a Keep Connected online workshop, visit Council's website, www.thehills.nsw.gov.au.