Christchurch City Rates Up 2.28 Per Cent
An overall rate increase of 2.28 per cent was confirmed by the Christchurch City Council today.
The figure was set in the draft budget and, despite several minor changes by the City Council today, the figure adopted will raise a sum of $137.58 million.
The chairman of the Annual Plan Working Party, Cr. David Close, said the Council had resisted raising loans to fund nil rate increases over many years and the public had taken that long-term view as well.
"They (the public) supported us in the nineties when we resisted the pressure to sell off our trading enterprises for ready cash, and this year they have supported the proposal to use the $175 million from Orion for debt repayment and an endowment fund," he said.
The Council's projected future debt had been reduced to "very modest levels," Cr. Close said.
In 2009-10 term debt was projected to be $151 million (down from $226 million in last year's plan) and net debt is projected to be $32 million (down from $200 million in last year's plan).
Those levels of debt were very low in view of the vast assets of the Council, Cr. Close said.
The Council was providing higher standards of service in almost every area - waste minimisation, refuse disposal, wastewater treatment, stormwater systems, libraries, swimming pools, art gallery - but the higher standards were driving up operating costs.
"For this reason our projected rate increases for the next few years are higher than most Councillors are comfortable with. But I am pleased to point out that the rates 'spike' in 2004-05 has been reduced from 8.6 per cent to 6.71 per cent in the plan before us today," he said.
"We must continue to exercise discipline in our spending, especially as our very successful trading enterprises cannot be expected to increase their dividends as rapidly as in the past."