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Hearings Recommend Nominal Rise In Household Rates

13 May 2005

Budget Hearings Recommend Nominal Rise In Household Rates

Dunedin (13 May 2005) – An increase in the number of ratepayers in Dunedin means City homeowners will face only a nominal rise in their rates bill if the recommendations of the City Council’s Draft 2004-05 Hearings Committee are accepted.

An increased number of ratepayers, together with changes in the way some non-residential properties are rated, and rising income from non-rate sources means householders face only a moderate increase in rates, despite a forecast rise in overall Council spending.

The Dunedin City Council Draft Annual Plan hearings committee for the 2005-06 budget has recommended changes that will see the overall rates take by the Council rise by $6.1 million to $82.8 million in 2005-06, compared with $76.7 million in 2004-05. But that rates bill will be spread across more people.

Rates are only part of the City Council’s funding for the year, with user-pays charges, investment income, interest and other external revenue actually accounting for over half of City Council funding for the year.

Mayor Peter Chin, chair of the hearings committee, noted that though the proposed rise in the overall rates take was considerable, the household impact would be less significant. For example, the way utilities, such as power lines companies and water and waste service providers are rated will change, reducing the burden on household rates. In addition, the number of rated properties in Dunedin has increased by 350.

If the rates rise is approved by Council in its current form then the rates increase for a homeowner with a house valued at $150,000 would be 3.3% in the 2005-06 financial year – or 66 cents a week. For a homeowner with a house valued at $250,000 the rise would be 2.2%, or 54 cents week.

For rural ratepayers with a property valued at an average $640,000 the rates would actually decrease 2.0%, or $29 a year. Non-residential ratepayers, which are mainly businesses, would see their rates rise on average 1.2%

Mayor Chin stressed that the annual plan budget discussions are on-going, and any final decisions will still need to be debated by the full Council at a meeting on 30 May.

“The hearings committee has considered submissions requesting nearly $1.5 million in extra spending by the Council. That is on top of extra spending that we need to look at for operational rises and planned further capital expenditure. We have had to look closely at spending priorities because we know that ratepayers do not have bottomless pockets,” he noted.

The hearings committee has recommended that spending for the Northern Water Scheme be approved, while extra spending on Community Grants and Events for the City have also been approved. The next financial year will also see significant spending on previously-approved major Waste, Water and Roading projects.

Jim Harland, DCC chief executive, said the proposed budget would see significant ongoing investment in City infrastructure and this would ensure Dunedin continued to prosper.

ENDS

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