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Carterton’s rates are on the rise

Carterton District Council intends to increase rates by 6.2 per cent, as opposed to 4 per cent as set out in its 10-year plan.

The change has been proposed in the draft annual plan for the 2023-24 financial year, which the council is seeking public feedback on.

Local Democracy Reporting reported last year that after a couple of years sitting at the top, Carterton had the second highest council rates in New Zealand.

The New Zealand Taxpayers Union’s annual ratepayer report comparing financial data across councils from the 2020-21 year, showed the average rates bill in Carterton was $3650, up from $3639 the year prior.

Although the 2023-24 draft plan does not include significant changes from year three of the 10-year plan, the council still wants public feedback before finalising the plan in June, a council media release stated.

Chief executive Geoff Hamilton said cost increases across New Zealand due to inflation have made it harder to deliver the outcomes of the 10-year plan within the same budget.

This means the average rating increase will be 6.2 per cent, rather than the smaller increase previously planned, he said.

Hamilton said the council understood the rise in rates would affect many residents and noted council staff had cut costs where they could in order to limit the increase.

Cost-cutting exercises have included reducing the amount of depreciation of water and roading assets funded through rates.

Additionally, the council has delayed some projects until its next 10 year plan, set to be completed next year.

Shelved projects include the planned administration building and car park, and a depot move.

“Without these cost-saving measures, the average rates increase would be closer to 17 per cent,” Hamilton said.

In 2021, the council consulted the community on its 10-year plan for 2021 to 2031.

Some of the projects mentioned in the plan for 2023-24 included year three of the roading programme approved by Waka Kotahi NZTA, along with continued wastewater and water renewals of underground pipes, pumps, and infrastructure.

“In addition, we have had significant damage to our roading network from the severe weather events over the past 18 months,” Hamilton said.

“This plan includes $1.9 million operating expenditure to repair roading infrastructure, on top of our usual roading maintenance and renewals programme.”

The draft annual plan said the council expected to spend approximately $6m to reinstate damaged roading over the next three years.

Hamilton said the majority of the work would be completed at a “higher financial assistance rate” from NZTA.

“This is in the process of being approved by Waka Kotahi. However, there is still a significant impact on rates from this additional work.”

The council media release stated staff costs have increased to deliver the levels of service that were agreed upon as part of the 10-year plan, and are partly a result of increased service demands, such as an increased need for information technology security, labour, and salary market movements.

“Accordingly, a 5 per cent increase to the current staff salaries and wages cost has been budgeted to ensure the council can still attract and retain staff in a competitive labour market,” the release said.

The draft annual plan includes seven and a half new full-time-equivalent staff, but only three are fully funded using rates revenue – the rest are funded by fees and charges or external revenue, such as Three Waters transition funding.

The rates increase will be higher for rural residents and lower in the urban area because the highest budget increases are for emergency roading, the spokesperson said.

The draft plan can be viewed at cdc.govt.nz/annualplan. Feedback can be given until May 15.

3 COMMENTS

  1. This was a good read & actually made me more accepting of the increased rate rise; until I read the bot about the wage increase to council staff. What a feeble excuse ‘ so as to retain staff’ and then to go on and say that only three of them are funded by rates; the rest being fu.fef by other forms of taxation. Not a very inspiring gesture by this council. I’d like to know the Mayor’s point of view on all of this; but I see that he keeps his hands clean and is nowhere to be seen when it comes down to the nitty-gritty. I’m wondering if he gets his 5%?

  2. There is no way that this council can deal with the fiscal hangover from the previous regime yet still deliver quality infrastructure.
    The dollar only stretches so far.
    Budgetary cuts & economies have been made where they can while still developing & maintaining core infrastructure.
    New CEO, new Council,lots of Central Govt divulging of responsibility & reduced funding
    Give them a chance.
    Compare their performance to that of GWRC rates increase of >16 %

  3. It would be nice to see the CCC do its job with the rates money for instant most of the flooding in town is caused by blocked drains ,every were ,lazy councils clam global warming so they can increase the rates at will ,more money less services the fact that the rates rise went from 17% down to 6.2% shows their wasting our rates money with poor performance
    I liked the new look weed gardens this along main street this summer, fantastic look
    between Christmas & new year I noticed at two of the biggest parks there was no rubbish collected
    no dog poo bags no grass mowing all for a great bargain price of around $4000per household
    the CCC does not respond to calls reporting flooding or rubbish on the streets
    Mr. Hamilton needs to do much better with the budget on hand and Mr. Marks may want to sort these problems out before he heads back to parliament for the sweet Defense Ministry job
    largest rates in NZ must = the most poorly run budget in NZ
    weather we pay peanuts or big buck to CEOs we always end up the monkeys

Comments are closed.

Grace Prior
Grace Prior
Grace Prior is a senior reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with a keen interest in environmental issues. Grace is the paper’s health reporter and regularly covers the rural sector, weather, Greater Wellington Regional Council, and coastal stories.

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