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Rates increase being proposed in upcoming Annual Plan consultation

11 February 2020

Higher than anticipated costs mean our Council is considering in our upcoming Annual Plan consultation a proposal to increase rates to an average 9.98 per cent for the 2020/21 financial year, beginning 1 July. This translates to an average per property cost increase of $287 for the year; however, rates for individual properties will vary depending on property value, location and services received.

This proposed rating increase is not enough to cover the total increase in operating costs, so will require additional funding by borrowing, which is achievable with a short-term loan to reduce the rates increase and spread it out over subsequent years, to lessen the burden on ratepayers.

“The facts are that the cost of maintaining our current services has escalated at a much faster rate than that estimated and developed  two years ago in our 2018-2028 Long Term Plan (LTP),” says our Mayor Sandra Goudie. “The increases  largely stem from our solid waste (rubbish and recycling) and core infrastructure activities,” Mayor Sandra says.

Solid waste costs have increased sharply over the past 18 months, with a large portion of the increase related to the change in recycling markets (China no longer accepting some types of plastic) and the increased costs of maintaining closed landfills (of which we have 11 in our district), both of these nationwide issues have been covered extensively by the national media.

“Contractor rates in the civil construction industry are also driving costs up, as we compete for tenders against thriving building industries, in places like Auckland and Tauranga,” says Mayor Sandra.

“Over the past few years we’ve increased the delivery of the capital works programme. This is a good outcome and delivers on our commitment to our ratepayers, residents and visitors but it comes with associated increased operational costs. On top of that, we’ve had additional pressures of joint funding government initiatives that increase our commitments, such as the Tourism Infrastructure Fund (TIF) to manage visitor demand. This has seen increased operational costs ripple through,” she says.

Public feedback on proposed rates increases

Because the proposed rates increase of 9.98 per cent is significantly more than the 3.70 per cent increase forecast for the year in the last (2018-2028) LTP, we’re seeking public feedback through our upcoming Annual Plan consultation from 10 March to 14 April.

If we increase rates by just under 10 per cent, we can manage the remaining deficit through a short-term loan, which will then be addressed through future rates increases, or changes in expenditure through the LTP process.

“We are concerned at the impact this rates increase may have on some ratepayers and we’re committed to looking at options to reduce overall expenditure as we develop our next LTP over the next 12 months,” says Mayor Sandra.

The exact impact of a rates increase on any property will vary a bit depending on what type of property it is and where it’s located. When the consultation opens, the consultation document will give the options for funding, rating examples for different types and values of properties.

“You can help us when consultation opens, by letting us know which services you value the most and which ones are no longer relevant or could be reduced. Please take this time to give us your feedback when our consultation opens in March,” Mayor Sandra says.

We have already started developing the 2021-2031 LTP and we’ll be consulting on that in early 2021.

More information on LTPs is on our website at tcdc.govt.nz/longtermplans and on Annual Plans at tcdc.govt.nz/annualplans.

Proposed increases in fees and charges

User fees and charges are proposed to increase in the areas where there’s been increased expenditure. Our consultation document will have a full list of the fees and charges we’re proposing to increase, as well as a summary of capital expenditure projects planned for 2020/21. This will be available for public feedback from 10 March 2020.