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Amenities funding will impact on ratepayers

MEDIA RELEASE 22 August 2008.

Regional amenities funding will impact on Rodney District's ratepayers warns Mayor

Rodney District Council is concerned that moves to impose a levy on all Auckland local authorities to finance regional amenities will place more costs on its ratepayers.

Next week, the Government plans to implement in Parliament the Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Bill with hopes of it becoming law.

Mayor Penny Webster says the proposed levy will mean Rodney ratepayers are paying for many facilities that are based in central Auckland, at a time when many locals are already feeling pressure about rates.

Over the next four years, this new levy could add up to 2 per cent to each local authority's rates as a proportion of the region's total, equating to around $50 extra for each Rodney ratepayer.

Mrs Webster says the total amount required in the first year of the proposed new funding scheme is $9 million, and this could increase to $13 million if the Auckland Zoo is added. Rodney District would contribute an estimated $650,000 of funding in the first year and up to a maximum of $2 million when the levy is fully imposed in four years time.

"While many of these amenities are an important part of the cultural wellbeing and safety of the region as a whole and we recognise their current financial difficulties. However, we believe the proposed funding is unfair and will impose an extra burden on the already pressured ratepayers of Rodney," says Mrs Webster.

She added that Rodney District Council also shared the concerns of its neighbour North Shore City, about there being no clear definition of regional amenities and the Bill not providing for performances to be geographically spread across Auckland thereby improving availability and accessibility for the general public.

"We also believe that funding of amenities should be regionally agreed, transparent to the public, and apply an integrated approach without Government imposing this on our ratepayers.

"I also find it somewhat premature for the Government to be pushing through this Bill, when its own Royal Commission on Auckland governance is still yet to report back on the long term solutions to local government in the wider region," Mayor Webster says.

ENDS


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