Rates and Debt

Find out more about how proposals in our Draft Long Term Plan 2015-2025 will affect your rates.

Ratepayers are looking at a projected 1.9% rates increase annually over the next decade and our external debt reducing to a level of only $4M or less, over the next 10 years.

This coming year (2015/2016) the average rates will increase by 3.6% - but it still won't be what ratepayers in a lot of areas were paying back in 2010 - and will average over the next 10 years to an annual 1.9% increase.

The rates increase for this coming financial year comes after a well-signalled move that $46.6M of unpaid debt relating to our three eastern seaboard wastewater plants is moved from potential future development to ratepayer.

 "We had no choice but transfer this debt to the current ratepayer as we do not envisage the numbers of new ratepayers arriving to pay it off," says David Hammond, Thames-Coromandel District Council Chief Executive.

"A lot of this can be attributed to recession which hit the Coromandel in 2009 and if this situation changes in the future we will most certainly revisit it. But in the meantime it is the prudent thing to do," he says.

"Meanwhile the reduction of our external debt over the next decade to a level of only $4M or less, and the steady building of infrastructure reserves, puts us in a sound fiscal position so that if there any exceptional risks or surprises, we can deal with it," says Mayor Glenn Leach." It's prudent and shows good common sense."

Councillors were informed that, average property rates still remain well under 2010 rate levels in many areas of the District.  Residential properties in most parts of Coromandel will enjoy rate levels lower than 2010 for five to seven years. The picture is even better for commercial properties whose average rates remain under 2010 rate levels for more than fifteen years

Here's a few examples:

  • Back in 2010 if you have a residential property in Thames with a land value (LV) of $140k your average rates were $2,243. In our draft LTP you won't by paying more than that until 2017/2018 (eight years) when the average rate is $2,297.
  • Back in 2010 if you had a rural property in Thames with a LV of $4.2m you paid an average $12,863 in rates. Under our draft LTP your average rates is still less than that after 15 years (2024/2025) when it hits an average of $9,332.
  • In Coromandel a residential property with a LV of $225k was paying an average rate of $2,528 back in 2010. It will only be eight years later that it returns to a similar rate of $2,560 in 2017/2018.
  • In Tairua-Pauanui in 2010 a residential property with a LV of $400k was paying an average rate of $2,730. It returns to an average rate of $2,788 by 2017/18 (eight years).

The full table for the Average District Rate.

Long Term Plan rates by ward.

"Our rates and debt position is really good news as it tells us the story of where we've come from," says Mayor Glenn Leach.  "To now only get back to the rate you were paying seven years ago - at the earliest - is extraordinary in local government terms. This data proves that what this Council has implemented is really working."

How have we been able to keep rates down in the past five years?

In 2010-2011 we began implementing reforms which included an organisational restructure as well as streamlining processes and reducing operational costs.

We have renegotiated external contracts and brought more roles in-house, if it can be shown that it can save money and create efficiencies.  We have also partnered with other Councils to reduce costs (our Kerbside rubbish/recycling is an example of this) to reduce operational expenditure.

"If we can do a project well with a Corolla rather than the Rolls Royce, that's what we'll do," says Mayor Leach. "Case in point is the Thames Valley Water Project where there was $16M in the previous LTP to look at the upgrade of the water supply for this catchment. Under our community empowerment model - as well as having local input in the decision making - we were able to reduce the project cost down to $5M."

We're also looking at how to manage risk better, with projects like our Below Ground Asset Investigation, which will give us a better understanding of the quality and age of our stormwater, wastewater and water pipe networks, allowing for more robust renewals planning.

Average District Rates LTP Chart

We haven't reduced levels of service to do this.

While we've been able to keep rates down over the past five years we've still delivered a high level of service. We maintain:

  • 445 km of sealed roads and 230km of unsealed roads
  • 150 bridges
  • 9 water treatment plants and 48 reservoirs
  • 538 km of water pipeline
  • 10 wastewater treatment plants
  • 128 wastewater pump stations and 6,382 wastewater manholes
  • 13 community halls and centres
  • 2 airfields
  • 1 swimming pool
  • 21 cemeteries
  • 5 wharves and 9 all tide boat ramps
  • 37 playgrounds
  • 83 public toilets

In the past 12 months we have:

  • Approved 297 resource consents
  • Produced 4,833,973 m3 of treated water
  • Reduced the amount of waste going to landfill from 516kg to 463kg per rating unit
  • Processed 1285 Land Information Memorandum requests.
  • Completed an adventure style playground at Island View Reserve.
  • Issued 256,958 library items
  • Completed a new pontoon and boat ramp extensions at Whitianga and Whangamata.
  • Operated the Hahei to Ferry Landing shuttle for 32 days
  • Carried out 358 inspections on the 286 registered food premises
  • Received 211 new dwelling consents and on average processed these in just over 11 days
  • Held three civil defence exercises
  • Received 995 building consent applications

We've also been worked through a number of projects including

  • Introducing our community empowerment, giving more power back to locals. to make better decisions for locals.
  • Reviewing our District Plan (currently going through hearings and deliberations).
  • Implementing a new Freedom Camping Bylaw.
  • Restructuring Destination Coromandel.
  • Resolving the health and safety issues at Moanataiari
  • Rolling out our Kerbside rubbish and recycling service
  • Completing Hauraki Rail Trail Stage 1 (in partnership with Hauraki District Council).
  • Introducing a positive ageing and disability strategies.
  • Implementing an Economic Development Strategy.
  • Implementing a Major Events Fund.
  • Dealing with Thames Valley Water.
  • Dealing with the Mercury Bay Multi-Sport Park development overspend.
  • Having a strategy prepared for the possibility of Local Government Reforms
  • Reviewing our Development Contributions Policy and stimulating growth.

Why the rates increase in this coming financial year?

We are dealing with a $46.6M debt relating to the Eastern Seaboard Sewerage Schemes which were completed in 2009 and cost $93M.

It was the belief of council in the early 2000s that future developers would pay at least 66% of that cost, and that growth would take off in the Coromandel at a fast rate. That hasn't happened, the development didn't come and instead we were all hit by the recession. We now have an obligation to address the issue. This accounts for 1.8% of the 2015/16 rates increase.

The draft LTP Consultation document went out for public consultation from 9 March until 9 April.

The situation with the three Eastern Seaboard Wastewater Plants (Tairua-Pauanui, Whangamata and Whitianga).

  • The Three Wastewater Treatment Plants were completed by 2009 to deal with future growth and peak summer population.
  • We have completed more up-to-date modelling and testing that shows some parts of Tairua-Pauanui and Whitianga plants are near capacity over peak summer. With some fine tuning of these plants we can optimise capacity as well as doing some small capital works to increase capacity.
  • The challenge is anticipated future growth. Based on 2015 projections the indication is these plants won't reach capacity within their asset life. So if future population growth doesn't materialise as projected, it means our Additional Capacity loan isn't repaid.