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Auckland City Council reviews its rates policy

Auckland City Council

Media release
5 March 2008

Auckland City Council reviews its rates policy

Chairperson of the Combined Committees, Councillor Douglas Armstrong, says that the council’s priorityis to keep improving the city while capping any rates increase to the level of council’s inflation which is forecast at 5.1 per cent next year.

The decisions made at today’s Combined Committees meeting will be included in the council’s draft annual plan that will be available for public feedback from 18 April to 20 May 2008.

If the proposed rates increases are implemented after public consultation, residential properties outside the CBD will have a uniform charge of $154 and a separate rate for rubbish and recycling of $222. That will be an increase in these two charges of $82 from last year.

The CBD residential targeted rate will increase by $3 to $55.

The valuation-based general rate for residential properties outside the CBD will remain at the same level as they were last year.

“The 5.1 per cent rates increase we are proposing is half of the 10.2 per cent proposed for next year in the council’s current 10-year plan,” says Mr Armstrong.

To maintain this low level of rates increases, the draft annual plan will outline which projects proposed in the council’s 10-year plan will need to be deferred, changed or cancelled.

The annual plan also offers different funding options such as rates, borrowing and contributions from developers.

“There is still significant investment of over $400 million across the city proposed in the draft plan,” says Mr Armstrong.

“We have included a $1 million fund for new initiatives to give us some room to move and we are also planning to spend an additional $200,000 on graffiti eradication.”

The council has also proposed to cap water prices to the level of council’s inflation over the next three years.

“We want to give people some certainty that rates and water prices are going to be affordable,” says Mr Armstrong.

Another change for people to consider is the consolidation of the five targeted rates introduced in 2005 into the general rate which will achieve improved system efficiency from generating fewer transactions.

“We feel one rate is clearer for people to understand,” says Mr Armstrong.

“We will continue to provide residents and ratepayers with information about where their rates money is being spent and the value they get from their rates dollar.”

The targeted rate for rubbish and recycling, CBD properties and mainstreets would continue to be shown separately on rates bills.

The Combined Committees will meet again in June to set the budget and rates levels for the 2008/2009 financial year.


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