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3.1% rate rise for Manukau

30 June 2005

3.1% rate rise for Manukau

Manukau City councillors have voted for an average rate rise of 3.1% for the 2005/06 year. The Council met last night to endorse the draft Annual Plan. Councillors had earlier considered more than 620 written and oral public submissions made on the draft Plan.

Discussion centred on key elements such as major rail and roading projects, Business Improvement Districts and the Council’s rating policy.

“Planning and managing the level of growth within Manukau continues to be a big challenge,” said Mayor Sir Barry Curtis. “Being the fastest growing city in the country has its advantages, but it certainly brings a higher level of complexity to our decision-making.”

“There is never enough money to pay for everyone’s wish list. Meeting the needs and wants of a diverse city with our limited financial resources requires innovative approaches and thinking outside the square. That has been achieved this year by a number of means, especially by the decision to set up Council Controlled Organisations or CCOs, which will enable us to use some of our major assets to much better effect.”

Three CCOs are being established to guide the ongoing development of Flat Bush, to better utilise Council’s shareholding in Auckland International Airport, and to change the structure of Manukau Water.

In the case of the Flat Bush CCO, this vehicle will enable the Council to ensure high urban design standards are achieved at Flat Bush, which is to be the new growth centre of Manukau with 40,000 people expected to be living there within a decade. It is anticipated that the other two CCOs will achieve multi-million dollar savings for the Council annually.

Sir Barry says,” The city will benefit financially and otherwise from these new organisations and there is no risk to the value of assets which the community owns,” said Sir Barry. “With the advent of the new Local Government Act we have the ability to manage assets and services to deliver greater benefits to Manukau residents and ratepayers”.

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Of particular note in recent months has been the issue of what is an appropriate rating to apply to individual properties. The Council is bound by agreed rating policies determining how the ongoing development and growth of the city is funded. The policies are supported by principles designed to ensure residents do not pay more than their fair share. In addition, the Council has the ability to recognise individual situations where ratepayers are not able to meet their obligations, through means such as delaying rates payments.

In the case of the ratepayers within the Liverpool/Glasgow/ Onslow Avenues area of Papatoetoe, councillors have exercised this option and applied remission. However, the remission can only be applied until 30 June 2006 when Council’s rating and funding policies have to be reviewed.

“I believe everyone will support the action taken to meet the unique needs of these residents. The dilemma the Council has found itself in highlights the difficulty of equitably distributing rates across the city.

“There will always be a small number of ratepayers affected by changes that benefit the majority, but this case has proved we have the policies and procedures to mitigate any undue hardship on individuals.”

ENDS

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