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Rates and financial management policy

Bruce Hucker for Mayor

Rates and financial management policy

I am committed to relieving the rates burden on owners of lower and middle value properties who have suffered greatly under the present council.

Owners of lower-valued homes have suffered most over the term of the present council. A home valued at $215,100, for example, has experienced an effective 37% rate increase.

Owners in the middle have also suffered. A home valued at $310,300, for example, has seen its rates go up by 21% in the period while owners of higher value homes have had only a modest increase. As an example, a home valued at $556,600 has faced increases totalling only 4.3%.

These rates increases recorded under the present administration include the effects of increased uniform annual charges and annual general charges but exclude ARC rates.

I will work for the elimination of the uniform annual charge (which goes towards rubbish collection) and the annual general charge (used for general council purposes).

My policy is to support moderate rate increases, if required, with a maximum increase no more than 2% above the rate of inflation. (The council predicts that inflation will be 2.4% in the 2004 -05 June year.)

Financial management would be based on: These moderate rate increases; Changing priorities for council spending, for example eliminating spending on the eastern highway; Imposition of development levies which are now chargeable under the Local Government Act 2002. Development levies are essentially a tool for dealing with the impact of growth on infrastructure; Borrowing within prudential limits so that costs can be spread across generations, not the zero debt approach of the present council.

Priorities for spending include: A stronger community development approach; High priority for an urban design unit and on heritage issues; Increasing the stock of affordable housing in the city (in partnership with Housing New Zealand).

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