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Council approves 5.18% average real rates increase

Council approves 5.18 percent average real rates increase for 2008/09

Wellington City Council today approved its Annual Plan for the coming financial year, which will result in an average real rates increase of 5.18 percent, after allowing for growth in the ratepayer base.

The rates increase is slightly up on the 4.79 percent increase proposed in this year’s Draft Annual Plan but below the 7 percent forecast in the Long Term Council Community Plan. The percentage increase will vary for individual ratepayers depending on capital value changes and the effect of the rates differential between businesses and households.

Mayor Kerry Prendergast says the increase is one of the lowest compared with the other major cities.

“The Council would have liked to have been able to keep the rates increase below 5.1 percent to assist ratepayers who are feeling the strain of rising fuel and food prices but could not do so without cuts to services,” she says.

“Although a small number of people who commented on our Draft Annual Plan asked us to defer non-urgent spending to keep the rates increase down, the balance of opinion was clearly in favour of the limited number of new projects that we are proposing for the coming year so we have approved those.”

Mayor Prendergast says that while the Council has committed to some new projects for 2008/09, to a large extent the increase in total rates reflects increasing cost pressures we face in delivering key services such as maintaining the transport network and looking after the city’s environment. The Council is facing increased fuel and energy costs too.

“It’s important to remember that over 84 percent of the rates we collect pays for things the city can’t do without like roads, pipes, community centres, sportsfields and taking care of the environment.”

The new initiatives include plans to investigate how Wellingtonians use transport and make transport choices to determine how to encourage more sustainable options, such as walking, cycling or taking the train or bus; building consent fee concessions for new buildings that incorporate sustainable features like solar water heating and better insulation; and funds to improve safety in Courtenay Place, continue the anti-graffiti flying squad, support the Pasifika festival and replace the Thistle Hall floor.

For further details please contact:
Lyn Murphy, Council Communications, tel 803 8119.

Wellington City Council news releases are also available daily as Web Alerts through the Council's website, www.Wellington.govt.nz. To subscribe, select the Web Alerts icon on the home page.

ENDS

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