RAM's Rates Proposals To ARC
RAM media release 9.2.05
RAM's rates proposals to ARC
A RAM deputation is taking six important rates proposals to the February meeting of the ARC Finance Committee:
1. BUSINESS DIFFERENTIAL
The ARC to recommend a business differential of 5 in the draft plan. This level of differential, which falls way below North Shore City's 9.35 differential, would return most homeowners' rates to around what they were in 2003, according to the ARC's own rates modelling. This move is essential for the new ARC to restore rates justice for the vast majority of its ratepayers.
2. UNIFORM ANNUAL GENERAL CHARGES
The ARC to reject all UAGC's, which the ARC's own modelling shows would increase homeowners' rates while decreasing business rates. UAGC's are inherently unfair to grassroots ratepayers, which is why corporate lobbyists promote them.
3. UNIFORM LEVY FOR PARK PURCHASES
The ARC to reject any universal levy for park purchases, which would set a negative precedent for UAGC's. Instead, the ARC to ring-fence an agreed percentage of the annual rates take for park purchases, which will remove it from political jockeying each year.
4. PENALTIES ON UNPAID RATES
The ARC to stop pursuing penalties owed by homeowners, regardless of the dollar amount of the penalties. These penalties to be set aside in a "holding account" without being formally wiped, thus avoiding any legal repurcussions while ensuring that all homeowners who owe penalties of whatever amount are treated exactly the same, as natural justice demands.
5. ENFORCEMENT OF UNPAID DEBTS
In the enforcement of unpaid rates debts, the ARC to renounce payment requests to mortgagees, threats of forced home sales and the imposition of penalties. Instead, rates debts are to be treated in the same manner as normal commercial debts, and placed into the hands of debt-collectors after an agreed period of time has expired.
6. CITIZEN'S ASSEMBLY ON RATES
The ARC to convene a Citizen's Assembly on rating policy at the start of the 2005 rates consultation process. The widest possible range of community organisations to be invited to interactively discuss rating policy over several days. Involving grassroots people as well as corporate lobbyists in mass, interactive, democratic discussions will do much to restore popular confidence in the ARC, which was so badly dented during the Rates Revolt against the Bull council's unjust rate hikes.
"Last October, close to 90,000 votes were cast for RAM's promise to deliver rates justice to grassroots homeowners," said ARC councillor Robyn Hughes. "I intend to remain true to RAM's election pledges, which is why I'm supporting the RAM delegation's six-point plan to the ARC Finance Committee."