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Know your rates rise

Wide variations to councils’ increases across region

STAFF REPORTERS

The numbers are in, and there is a wide variation in rates increases across the region after a flurry of district council meetings to finalise increases for 2018/19.

Topping the lot is Carterton District Council, where ratepayers face an increase of 9.5 per cent in the average rates.

That compares with the lowest increase of 3.95 per cent in rates for Tararua District Council.

Masterton District Council finalised an increase of 4.8 per cent, while South Wairarapa ratepayers face an increase of 5.65 per cent.

The average Greater Wellington Regional Council increase is 5.9 per cent.

MASTERTON

The 4.8 per cent increase is slightly below the 4.9 per cent in consultation documents but Masterton District Council finance manager David Paris said a lot of this was due to the number of ratepayers increasing by 1.2 per cent, rather than an anticipated one per cent.

Actual increases to individual ratepayers will also vary due to changes in valuations – from two to seven or eight per cent – and some may even pay less next year.

The council will go ahead with its big ticket items in its long-term plan, but there is still no detailed certainty about the future of the town hall, though it seems the façade, at least, will remain.

Fifteen and a half million dollars has been allocated for a new civic centre with further consultation to be undertaken to determine the centre’s look and location.

As proposed in the council’s long-term plan consultation document, $3.63 million will be put into rejuvenating the town centre, $5 million to develop Masterton’s library, with further consultation in the future, $5.2 million for smart water meters, with an initial pilot period.

The council will also spend $600,000 each year to increase the rate of water pipe renewals, and $535,000 next year to introduce kerbside wheelie bins.

“Each of these projects, alongside the progression of our well-being strategy adopted earlier this year, contribute to council’s overarching goal of achieving the best of rural provincial living,” Mayor Patterson said.

CARTERTON

The final 9.5 per cent increase was settled on Wednesday after a somewhat tortuous process, which saw several potential increases publicised.

The increase was originally estimated to be 8.4 per cent when the 10-year plan was first released in April.

However, only days later, this changed to an 9.4 per cent increase, after auditors raised an issue with the budget calculations.

During the submission hearings earlier this month, councillors reviewed the budget and tried to save costs, achieving an overall saving of 0.4 per cent, but this had disappeared when the rates were finalised.

Corporate services manager Marty Sebire said on Wednesday these savings had only been an estimate.

“I had to put them through the model to get an accurate picture.”

The main drivers of the increase are an upgrade to the Daleton Farm wastewater treatment plant and a three-year project to increase the drinking water storage capacity, extending it from 12 hours to four days.

SOUTH WAIRARAPA

The 5.65 per cent increase is less than the 5.99 per cent consulted on, with chief executive Paul Crimp saying “a few bits and pieces” had been trimmed out.

About 2.5 per cent of the increase would simply cover increases in general costs, with the rest going towards new initiatives, as well as three additional council staff members.
The council will be hiring a communications adviser, as well as two people to work in customer services.

Crimp said they would be working proactively in the community to get matters dealt with promptly and assist the council in “getting ahead”.

Major projects for the council include a district-wide spatial plan costing $300,000 to be funded over 10 years.

A feasibility study for shared sporting facilities in Greytown will cost $25,000, and $20,000 will go towards the upgrade of cricket blocks at Soldiers Memorial Park, with funds for these projects to be allocated from the Greytown Restricted Reserve.

GREATER WELLINGTON

Big commitments to regional infrastructure have boosted regional council rates to a 5.9 per cent average increase for the 2018/19 year.

Wairarapa will have just over $42 million spent on flood protection projects during the next decade.

The council has allocated $33 million, in conjunction with KiwiRail, to improve the rail fleet operating between Wairarapa and Wellington, council chairman Chris Laidlaw said.

In Masterton, the owner of an average house will pay 22.5 per cent more, a business will pay 13.2 per cent more and a rural property owner will pay 14 per cent more.

In Carterton, the owner of an average home will pay 22.2 per cent more and rural rates rise by 11.2 per cent but a Carterton business will pay just $1 more.

In South Wairarapa, residential rates will rise by 31.7 per cent, business rates by eight per cent and rural by 14 per cent.

Details of Tararua District Council’s increase were unavailable when the Times-Age went to press.

1 COMMENT

  1. Wages do not increase between 5.9 and 9.5 percent in any given year ever how do you think rate payers can sustain these kinds of rate increases, the Carterton rates in particular are crippling many!!

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