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Council Aims For Zero Rates Rise

6 March 2000


COUNCIL AIMS FOR ZERO RATES RISE

A zero rates increase is the hope and challenge of the chairperson of Auckland City Council’s Finance and Property Committee, Cr Kay McKelvie, as she enters a four-day meeting to set a draft budget for the 2000/2001 financial year.

However, she warns that a zero rates increase would not mean everyone’s rates would stay the same.

“Because of the city revaluation and a further planned reduction in the CBD differential, rates bills may be slightly higher for some residential properties.”

Individual property values changed in different ways at the citywide revaluation last November, with an overall increase in the average residential value of 3.5 per cent.

Also, the Council had decided to phase in a fairer rates system, with businesses paying less of a ‘loading’ on their rates. This strategy was endorsed by the Council in the recent Strategic Plan development and would add about 2 per cent to residential rates overall.

Some of the positive initiatives proposed in the 2000/2001 draft Budget are more community facilities and assets, and better public transport.

Proposed is a $1.7 million increase in spending on community development, including $630,000 more support for community arts.
Pre-budget meetings had also indicated that public transport initiatives – including new bus priority schemes, park and ride facilities and rail station upgrades – should get $6 million, the same as this year.

Bi-annual inorganic rubbish collections are also included.

“The aim is a budget that addresses the city’s major issues, preserves existing service levels and takes care of vital infrastructure while balancing to a zero rates increase.

"Ratepayers will begin to experience the benefits of the hard decision made last year, to increase rates to fund depreciation."

Cr McKelvie says capital spending would stay in line with the Council's long term financial strategy. The Council's excellent credit rating would be preserved.

The Council is again considering the future of its 25.8 per cent shareholding in the Auckland International Airport as part of the Strategic Plan process. However, this decision would not affect rates, regardless of which way it went, as the proceeds would not be used for day to day operation of the city.

Ends

For more information contact

Cr Kay McKelvie
Ph 846 7076
025 279 6448

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