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No explanation for rates hike

By Geoff Vause

[email protected]

Diane McMahon built a new home at Carterton four years ago to enjoy her retirement.

Retirement is not in sight.

Diane, 72, is still working as a carer, and her latest rates hike makes it likely she will work for some time yet.

Her Francis Place home saw a rates increase from $1263 in 2012-13, $1336 in 2014, $1984 in 2015, leaping to $2919 for 2016.

Mrs McMahon said she had no explanation from Carterton District Council.

“A letter would be nice,” she said.

“I’ve had a few other letters from them. They could have told me what this was all about in one letter covering everything.”

Carterton Mayor John Booth said it appeared the uniform annual general charge (UAGC) component of the rates had been left off last year and had now been added, accounting for the hike.

He agreed a letter from the council staff would have been the right thing to do.

“I believe there was a half charge for water as the section had been part of a larger block,” Mr Booth said.

“The UAGC also hadn’t been charged, and was missed last year.

“There is an explanation, but it would have come as a shock,” he said.

“Mrs McMahon should have had a letter explaining things.”

A handful of other Carterton properties had also been affected by the UAGC anomaly.

It wasn’t the first surprise for Mrs McMahon.

She lived at Rexwood St when she moved to Carterton from Johnsonville in 1991.

When her partner died, Mrs McMahon bought the 380m2 Francis Place section and built a small, comfortable home.

The LIM Mrs McMahon sought from the council did not reveal an inadequate 50mm sewerage pipe to council services.

“The house was finished. I was about to move in. The plumber found the pipe.”

She was obliged to spend more than $5000 on her own pumping station to solve the problem.

Mrs McMahon said the council offered to repay the $300 cost of the faulty LIM, but not the cost of the pumping station.

“I won it in the Small Claims Tribunal and got the money back.”

Mrs McMahon’s Francis Place saga may not yet be over.

She is still waiting for the council to explain why her land value has dropped from $62,000 to $42,000.

“It’s odd, when values are increasing. Perhaps I’ll get a letter,” she said.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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