Residents have contacted Horsham Rural City Council 82 times for rates relief in the past six months due to COVID-19, but this number could soon be much higher.
At the council's final meeting before the election on Monday night, councillors noted a report by Financial Hardship Co-ordinator Andrea Hogan.
It showed the number of requests for relief has risen each month since May.
It also said the council has forgiven $46,706 worth of rates and charges since March, either through waiving lease and permit fees or payment plans.
"There are a total of 64 actions that have been completed with 33 or 51% where we have waived either some or all of the payment," ," Ms Hogan's report reads.
"Only five enquiries have resulted in payment plans being put in place, one deferral, three where no waiver or deferral occurred and 15 where no action was required."
"It is expected that these numbers will change dramatically as the 2020-21 Rate Notices are sent out in early September.
"There were 17 actions undertaken during August, (last month 11). Most were the automatic waiving of leases/licences that became due for community groups, with only one enquiry regarding rates.
"Generally the number of inquiries received in August has been more about discussions of what rate relief may be available if required after the next years rate notices are issued rather than a formal application for assistance.
"Many ratepayers are choosing to pay in advance this year and enter into payment plans early in order to make their rates payments more affordable, which has resulted in a substantially higher over-all credit balance."
The report shows requests for rates and charges relief peaked in April, when 28 people inquired about this, before dropping to just three in May. The number of requests increased to seven, 13 and 20 in June, July and August, the last of these months being when the state government reintroduced stage three restrictions.
The council's 2020-21 budget includes a total of $484,000 for COVID-19-related business and community support, money generated by a two per cent rate rise.
The council's monthly economic development report, presented at the same meeting, noted 100 residents applied for its COVID-19 support grants program across the Stronger Business and Recreation, Art and Events Recovery and Community Streams.
One of the successful applicants was Leanne Vincent, owner of Imelda Shoes and Accessories.
In a statement, she said she would use her grant of $1,200 to make the Roberts Avenue store's online presence "more user-friendly".
"I've been given the opportunity to employ local expertise for my website... I'll be able to have my site better represent Imelda as a brand, and be able to fully utilise it in generating traffic," she said.
The program is open to affected people and groups located in the Horsham municipality until March 2021, or until funding is fully allocated.
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