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Minimal rate increase for many ratepayers

25 Feb 2011

Minimal rate increase for many ratepayers

Many of the district’s ratepayers will face no, or very low, rate increases in the next financial year. Gisborne District Council has identified some substantial cost savings in its draft Annual Plan. More than 80 percent of ratepayers will have a rates reduction or a rise of less than $2 per week. Those benefitting tend to be Gisborne city residents and those with low value properties.

A 3.5% increase in total rates collected has been proposed by Council to fund it’s 2011/2012 Annual Plan. This is significantly less than the 8.1% increase that Council was originally forecasting. At its meeting on Thursday 24 February Council approved the draft Annual Plan to go out to the community for consultation.

A number of initiatives have been looked at to reduce Council spending in light of economic pressures and the strain that this may be having on residents. Significant savings have been made in dealing with stormwater and providing water to households. The costs from the new wastewater treatment plant are predicted to be $1 million less than estimated. This is due to reductions in depreciation and interest and lower operating costs.

Council debt is also less than originally forecast for 2011/12. Therefore Council will pay less in interest on this debt. These initiatives add up to less cost than was originally forecast and significant savings for rate payers.

Based on estimates about how rates are distributed 15,538 or 71percent of ratepayers will have an increase of less than $2 per week and 2098 or 10 percent of ratepayers will have either no change or a decrease in their rates.

Higher value properties across the district will face larger increases. Costs usually charged under the Uniform Annual General Charge (UAGC) have been redistributed onto rates based on the capital value of the property says council chief executive Lindsay McKenzie. "The UAGC that council can charge is capped by law. If we hadn't redistributed those rates we would have breached the cap. In addition most of the areas where cost savings were made were on city services. The cost of funding past deficits in the solid waste account for example is also a charge on the capital value rate. All of this will impact on higher value farms and horticultural properties and those in the Central Business District.”

Residents can check how their rates bill will be affected should the draft Annual Plan be adopted. People can compare the rates they are paying now with the proposed rates for their property.

A brochure about the draft Annual Plan will be in all resident’s letterboxes next week. Consultation starts with a community meeting at Te Wananga o Aotearoa in Elgin on Thursday 3 March at 7.30pm.  Submissions close on Thursday 31 March 2011.

The brochure highlights Council’s plans for the next year financial year and what it will cost to deliver them. Some of the key decisions to be made are:

  • Whether to have a stand alone economic development agency?
  •  Who should pay for the protecting Ruatoria township from the movement of the Waiapu River?
  •  What are the options for upgrading the Waipaoa River Flood Protection Scheme?
  •  Should the area around Waikanae Beach be developed into a first class destination for sports, leisure and cultural activity?

“This is the best opportunity for people to have their say on Council’s work programme before the plan is finalised,” says chief executive Lindsay McKenzie. All submissions will be considered. Feedback on some of the major issues may inform our Ten Year Plan which is due to be revised next year.”