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Rodney Council challenged over unfair rates

Tuesday, May 17th, 2005

Rodney Council challenged over unfair rates and 4.4% rates increase

The Employers & Manufacturers Association has challenged Rodney District Council to publish an analysis of the reasons why business property owners should pay more in rates per land value than residential property owners.

EMA presented its submission to Rodney on its annual plans last Friday (May 13th).

"Business should not have to pay higher rates and subsidise other ratepayers in the community," EMA's chief executive, Alasdair Thompson, told the council.

"Residential property owners are often far better off than business rate payers.

"Businesses should not be obliged to pay more than other ratepayers to support the community's social and cultural well being.

"At present Rodney businesses pay $4.30 in rates for every dollar paid by equivalent residential land owners.

"In reply one councilor said he didn't know the answers to these questions and would be grateful if Rodney's chief executive or mayor would explain them!

"Rodney businesses are mostly small or medium enterprises and are prepared to pay a fair share of their cost of Council's services.

"EMA represents 93 businesses and other organisations in the Rodney District. Together they employ 1,450 staff with an annual payroll of $53.6 million.

"Other beefs that business has with the Rodney Council are that:
* The average rates increase of 4.4% this year on existing properties is far too high - over the past five years Rodney's rates have gone up 33.77% per cent, way above inflation.
* Council appears to be taking no steps to improve the efficiency or productivity of its operations, as commercial businesses must.
* There are no plans to combine the separate rating approaches between Hibiscus Coast and the Rural and Township areas - the division should be abandoned, and
* Rates should be introduced on a Capital Value basis with the phasing out of business differentials.

"On the plus side, business is pleased that Uniform Charges are being maintained at the maximum level permissible."

ENDS

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