Rates to rise by under 2%

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The Waikato District Council has set a 1.87% general rate increase for the 2013/14 year.

There will also be increases in targeted rates, the council said in a media release.

In setting the rate this week, the council made a number of key decisions, including:

• Deferring a proposed forestry targeted rate for a year to allow further discussion with key stakeholders

• An additional $20,000 to be set aside for grants to Northern Region Surf Lifesaving, Ngaruawahia Rugby League Club and Ngaruawahia Community House, in addition to those grants already earmarked in the Long Term Plan

• Council had proposed to reduce funding in the roading budget and use some of the funds to build up a disaster recovery capability through the Disaster Recovery Fund. As a result of submissions and the impact of emergency roading work arising from the summer drought, most of the proposed funds are to be used for road maintenance and repair to address damage from the drought. A smaller contribution will still be added to the Disaster Recovery Fund

• Endorsing the proposed targeted rates for some halls, waste, Raglan refuse and recycling

• Agreeing on a revised funding mechanism for the Huntly septic tank waste facility involving an increase in fees and charges and a contribution from general rate

• Endorsing the proposed fees and charges increases to the Raglan Aerodrome, trade waste, property information and the Huntly Pool

Mayor Allan Sanson said the council had agreed on “a robust and forward looking annual plan which met the needs of the community and district.

“We’ve taken a good look across all areas of our business and have worked hard to keep the general rate increase to 1.87% while still maintaining the services our community expects. While there will be increases in targeted rates, these will ensure that important infrastructure and community services have the funding they require to meet the needs of their local communities.”

The plan was adopted after community consultation, and consideration of 264 submissions, including the views of 43 submitters who gave their views in person.

Regional council rates

Meanwhile, Waikato Regional Council rates will rise by an average of 1.3% or, for the majority of ratepayers, about $15 a year.

“We’re pleased to confirm our work programme based on a budget which sees a decrease in the general rate and an increase in targeted rates to fund services requested by the community,” said regional council chairman, Cr Peter Buckley in a media release.

The approved plan represents the second year of the 10-year plan the council adopted in June last year, and will be delivered on a rates revenue of $77.047 million.

The rates revenue increase is driven solely by targeted rates to meet the cost of stopbank improvement works and extended priority possum control operations.

The general rates decrease is a result of savings achieved through joint procurement initiatives, general efficiencies, and the application of surpluses from the 2011/12 and 2012/13 financial years.

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