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Ten Year Plan passed and rates adopted

MEDIA RELEASE


Ten Year Plan passed and rates adopted by regional council
For immediate release: Thursday 29 June 2006
NOTE: All figures exclude GST unless stated otherwise

Most Bay of Plenty residents will not notice much of a change in their regional council rates this year. However, Rotorua ratepayers may feel the sting a bit more.

Environment Bay of Plenty adopted its Ten Year Plan and set the rates for the coming financial year at a council meeting today (Thursday 29 June 2006).

The regional council’s operational work over the next year will cost just over $50.8 million, excluding GST. About $10.3 million of this will be funded from the general rates, including a Uniform Annual General Charge of about $53 (GST inclusive) per property. A further $7.4 million will come from targeted rates, including two new rates for city passenger transport and Rotorua lakes restoration work.

About $13.8 will be recouped from user fees and charges or public funding. The remaining $19.3 million will be drawn from the council’s investment income, mostly generated by its majority shareholding in Port of Tauranga Limited.

Most ratepayers in the eastern and western parts of the Bay of Plenty will find their rates bill quite similar to last year’s. The majority of urban residents will continue to pay less than $100 a year.

However, two new targeted rates - for lakes restoration work and improved bus services - will mean a hike for many Rotorua district residents. In total, though, the average urban Rotorua ratepayer is still likely to pay less than $160 (GST inc).

Environment Bay of Plenty chairman, John Cronin, says the rates are still “very reasonable”, partly thanks to the heavy subsidy from investment income. “We are faced with some extraordinary challenges in the next few years. These include protecting and restoring the Rotorua lakes, improving the region’s land transport system, and ensuring the ongoing sustainability of the region’s river schemes. We have tried to balance these increased commitments with our other ongoing legislative and policy commitments in a way that recognises the community’s ability to pay.”

Mr Cronin says the regional council’s expenditure will rise by $2 million this financial year. The increase is because of new works and simply because the council’s range of responsibilities has continued to grow, he explains. “We have had to progressively gear up our operations to undertake new resource management responsibilities and new costs. These have been imposed by a steady stream of legislation and cost transfer from central government. We have not had a choice in it.”

Mr Cronin wants to thank the hundreds of community groups, organisations, businesses, councils and individuals who had input into the Ten Year Plan. “You took the time to tell us what you liked and didn’t like about our proposals, and we appreciate that,” he says. “We listened to people and this is the result.”


Rates Overview

General rates Based on land value $5.1 million

Uniform Annual General Charge Fixed amount per property $5.2 million

Targeted rates
River, drainage and pump schemes $4.5 million
The region has four major catchment control schemes, one major drainage Scheme, 34 communal pumping schemes on the Rangitaiki Plains, plus three minor river and drainage schemes in Opotiki. These are funded mostly by ratepayers who benefit from them or whose land contributes to flood risk. Twenty per cent of the overall cost of the river schemes and the minor Opotiki schemes is paid by the regional community in its general rates. The costs of the other schemes are paid fully by the landowners.

Passenger transport $1.3 million
A new targeted rate will help pay for two urban passenger transport services next year. It will fund 22% of the total cost, with the rest taken from general rates. A set rate is being levied for rateable properties within the boundaries of Tauranga City ($18.90 GST inc) and urban Rotorua ($27.75 GST inc).

Rotorua lakes restoration $1.6 million
Rotorua district residents will now directly fund 56% of the cost of restoring the Rotorua lakes. Landowners will be charged according to property size. The cost for properties smaller than two hectares will be $58.50 this financial year. Properties over 10 hectares will pay $337 while those in between will pay $112. All these figures include GST.


User fees and charges and public funding $13.8 million

Investment income $19.3 million


ENDS

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