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Fed Farmers ask for change to charges

Federated Farmers want rural ratepayers in Masterton district to pay a lower percentage of proposed roading charges ahead of rating changes.

Federated Farmers representative Elizabeth McGruddy spoke at the hearings Masterton District Council [MDC] held on the proposed rating structure on Wednesday.

A report before the council proposed roading contributions be reduced from 31 to 30 per cent for urban ratepayers, while rural ratepayers’ roading contributions would be increased from 69 to 70 per cent.

Under the proposal, rural ratepayers would also contribute more for storm-damaged rural roads.

The proposed change reflects “the fact that rural ratepayers are the primary users of the roads that require repair”, the report said.

Urban contributions would drop from 35 to 10 per cent, while rural contributions would jump from 65 to 90 per cent, the report said.

McGruddy said the urban-rural population split is roughly 80/20, but the rural population would pay for more of the roading costs under the proposals.

“What that practically assumes is that for the rural roads, 6000 rural people would account for nearly all of the traffic on roads outside of the township,” she said.

“And that 23,000 urban people would account for hardly any.

“That doesn’t accord with our perceptions of the situation.”

McGruddy said MDC needs to get a better handle on rural and urban usage, as well as the extent of forestry usage of roads.

“As it stands the 30/70 per cent [split] just doesn’t seem right,” she said.

“Pending doing some sort of an exercise to try and get a better handle on it, we are suggesting a 50-50 split of the roading cost between the rural and urban populations.”

The council proposal also updated the population split between urban and rural rating areas to reflect the current population.

It reflects the greater growth in the urban area compared to rural since 2018.

The allocation between urban and rural properties applied to activities funded by the whole community is proposed to increase from 77.5 to 79 per cent for urban, and reduce from 22.5 to 21 per cent for rural, the report said.

Key proposed changes affecting all ratepayers include maximising user fees and charges, balancing the cost of animal control services, and changing funding for community development from a capital value rate to a targeted uniform charge.

Urban ratepayers also face an increase to the targeted uniform charge for properties with access to water supply and wastewater services, under the proposal.

The change would spread the cost of these services more evenly by changing the allocation for urban water supply and wastewater services from a 25 to 30 per cent targeted uniform charge and reducing the capital value contribution from 75 to 70 per cent.

“Using the CV of properties as the rating tool is a proxy for use of the services, ie there is an assumption that a higher value home or commercial property is likely to be a larger user of the services. It also reflects greater ability to pay,” the report said.

“The increase in the percentage based on a uniform charge spreads these costs more evenly across all connected properties.”

MDC consulted on the policy changes for a month until 20 November.

McGruddy was the only submitter to be heard in person, while 61 written submissions were received.

Final deliberations on the proposals are scheduled for the MDC meeting on December 13. -NZLDR

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

1 COMMENT

  1. Totally wrong urban rate payers use rural roads for many activities and tourists that spend a lot of money in the urban area. The rural rate payers are no burden on any urban amenities and that’s a major cost for councils. STOP BLEEDING RURAL RATE PAYERS 😤. We have a new government know 😊 🙏 god and labour greens nanny state will end.

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