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More rates confusion, this time over 10% cap

More rates confusion, this time over 10% cap
Mayor Len Brown’s promise that no Aucklander will pay more than a 10% rates increase does not match what many households have been asked to pay in their latest rates bills, which has further confused already annoyed ratepayers, says Auckland Councillor Cameron Brewer.
Regionwide, 133,549 households are eligible for the 10% cap for 2012/13, with the first quarterly payment due 30 August. However, Mr Brewer says figures he has sought from Auckland Council’s finance department show the average increase for those eligible households is actually 10.25%, which equates to $757,383 more revenue for the council.
“In my ward of Orakei 62.5%, or 18,310 homes, have their rates capped at 10% but are actually being asked to pay 10.4% more on average. My own rates are supposedly capped at 10% this year but nonetheless I’ve been asked to pay 10.7% more and I’m not alone.”
Mr Brewer says the latest rates bills are so confusing most people miss the fact that the 10% maximum increase is based on one’s baseline rates which excludes targeted rates, such as a waste management rate, but are then added on bumping up the total rates increase beyond 10%.
“For the last few months the Mayor promised to anyone who would listen that no one would pay more than 10%. There were no ifs, no buts, no maybes. We were all told 10% was the absolute maximum. Then the rates bills get sent out and councilllors learn that thousands of homeowners who have recently added value to their properties are in fact not eligible for the 10% cap with many stung badly, and now for the 133,549 eligible households it actually turns out to be more than the promised 10%. It’s not good enough.
“The fact that the 10% cap is actually over 10% has created more confusion and further annoyed ratepayers who have been ringing the council call-centre and their councillors. Not only have rates gone up for a majority of Auckland households but the Mayor’s reasons why and his absolute promise that no one would pay more than 10% have now come unstuck,” says Cameron Brewer.
The 10.25% average increase includes targeted rates but excludes properties that have opted into the ‘retro-fit your home’ initiative where they are repaying their loan via a targeted rate.


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