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Council Adopts Text-Messaging for Rates Reminders

Council Adopts Text-Messaging for Rates Reminders

Waikato District Council has not only expanded its online services and payment options for its residents and ratepayers, but has now moved to mobile-friendly text-messaging to send out rates reminders.

This week the Council made the decision to send out a ‘friendly rates reminder’ by text to nearly 3,700 ratepayers (about 10% of its ratepayers).

Waikato District Council’s acting Chief Executive Tony Whittaker says, “Our idea is that we want to reduce the number of rates penalty letters we send out to our ratepayers. This will not only help our ratepayers, but should also reduce the workload for our staff.”

He says the Council was already running an ‘opt-in’ service that sent our reminder texts or emails to ratepayers a week prior to the due date. This was an expansion of that service.

The Council decided to try texting to send reminders for rates currently due, but might also try emailing rates reminders on other occasions.

Mr Whittaker says, “We want to make it easier for our ratepayers to stay up-to-date. Social media is becoming a central part of our communications efforts, so this is a logical extension.”

He says industry evidence indicates that text messaging is the third-highest use for a mobile phone after taking photos and telephoning, and that 90% of text messages are read within 10 minutes.

Waikato District Council offers a full range of online and over-the-counter payment options for its rates and chargeable services which are listed under the ‘Pay it’ and ‘Apply for it’ buttons on the Council’s website home page.


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