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Water Meter Confusion Reigns in Kapiti

29th May 2014

Water Meter Confusion Reigns in Kapiti

"KCDC is hurtling, eyes wide open into the biggest public relations disaster in its history," says Districtwide Councillor, Jackie Elliott. "That is assuming the tree prosecution and coastal lines debacle can be topped. "

This time the victims will be every resident, tenant, landlord and business owner who has concerns about their impending water meter billing.

Today Councillors attended a twice rescheduled half hour briefing on the fine points of rates remissions. However it raised more questions than it answered.

While it is commendable that there is a $200.000 remission fund for hardship, KCDC will turn into a defacto WINZ office, with the eligibility criteria based on eligibility for family tax credits, many Kapiti households simply aren't.

Landlords, needing to apply for water remission have to prove that their tenant's only source of income is a Government paid benefit or pension, raising immediate privacy issues.

Despite being liable for all fixed charges, landlords will also be legally liable for unpaid water usage by tenants, so tenants will be liable for usage on top of their rent without legally receiving the quarterly account to monitor usage or leaks.

A household of six or more will be eligible for water remissions that will reduce their costs below the level of any other household size, with their special $50,000 fund.

"Considering our large older community, I am continuing to lobby Council for a similar dedicated fund for those with medical and mobility issues requiring nursing at home, I was told today, those vulnerable residents will have to apply, for the general community fund once a year in April." says Cr Elliott.

It is a pity for those whose diagnosis does not fall within the desired timeline, as the annual rates remission fund has previously been expended within a month.

"There was no time for further clarification for those in rented accommodation and their landlords, who have been contacting me for help. According to staff, I am to advise the many who are emailing me, to go to the Tenancy Tribunal for advice," says Cr Elliott.

"Many residents, including all of Paekakariki are waiting for their first trial bill, enabling them to reduce their usage and fix leaks. They should have received two by July 1stwhen usage measurement proceeds. But despite the delay in trial billing, and the confusion in the community, staff were resistant to delaying the scheduled billing start date of August 1st," says Cr Elliott.

ENDS

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