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Council input error leads to wrong rates

By Hayley Gastmeier
[email protected]
A decimal point in the wrong place has thrown up an error of over $200,000 in rate demands to South Wairarapa urban ratepayers.
The South Wairarapa District Council discovered last week that the “minor computing error” had happened while sums were being calculated regarding the Greater Wellington Regional Council’s component of the rates.
About 3708 ratepayers were rated incorrectly, being undercharged a discrepancy totalling $205,000 on invoices due August 22.
Under GWRC’s urban transport levy, 3395 households were undercharged an average of $59.80 each.
The business Wellington Regional Strategy rate was also affected, with 313 ratepayers being undercharged each about $6.71.
South Wairarapa Mayor Adrienne Staples said SWDC had “passed the correct amount in the rating resolution … but when we have entered it into the computer, there has been a data entry error”.
SWDC were rectifying the situation, sending a letter of explanation and a revised invoice to all affected ratepayers.
“It’s human error – it’s one of those things that happens from time to time.
“And I understand that the accounting department have put some double checks in place so it won’t happen again,” Mrs Staples said.
She said this was the first instance something of this nature had occurred at council.
Yesterday an email was sent to ratepayers explaining the situation.
It said the error did not alter the rates information published in the GWRC annual plan.
“The total difference from this error will be spread over the next four quarters.”
Direct debits would be automatically adjusted to be in line with the new invoices, but automatic payments would need to be changed with the ratepayer’s bank.

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