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Hamilton needs a UAGC

Thursday June 9th, 2005

Hamilton needs a UAGC

Hamilton City Council should introduce a Uniform Annual General Charge (UAGC) in the interests of fairness to all of the city's ratepayers, the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) has advised the council at the hearings on its Annual Plan. (8/6/05)

"EMA does not accept council's view in its planning documents that owners of higher value properties should subsidise owners of lower value properties," Peter Atkinson representing EMA told the Council.

"The approach is unfair because rating solely on the basis of property value has little bearing on individual ratepayer's ability to pay. There needs to be a fixed charge applying to all ratepayers to even out any discrepancies.

"For instance, retired pensioners on fixed incomes can find market changes see their homes reach high valuations resulting in them having to pay rates which are rising faster than their means to pay. A UAGC would help reduce this type of inequity.

"EMA calls on Hamilton City Council to introduce a UAGC in this year's plan.

"Most councils throughout New Zealand have adopted them, and we recommend they are set at the maximum allowed which is 30 per cent of the total rates applying to a property.

"EMA also finds Hamilton's proposed rates increase this year at 5.85% including the targeted transport charge, too high and unacceptable.

"EMA represents 756 businesses in Hamilton which together employ 15,800 staff and have an annual payroll of $660 million."

ENDS

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