Council rates rise for 2020/21

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General rates will rise 3.49% in the Waikato District for the 2020-21 year.

The Waikato District Council yesterday confirmed the rate rise when it adopted its 2020/21 annual plan.

The rise was marginally down on a proposed 3.66% rise after the council shaved off some costs.

Mayor Allan Sanson said that while the savings were small every dollar counted.

“We asked our staff to go away and find savings. We needed to be sure the budget had the right tension between keeping our district’s economic recovery projects on track, and making sure we were cutting our cloth. As a result no staff – or elected member – will receive a pay rise next year, and that is totally appropriate in the current climate,” he said.

Overall, the costs and operating budgets that were anticipated for the 2020/21 financial year were in line with the current Long Term Plan, with cost increases and savings largely offsetting each other, the council said in a statement.

While the effects of Covid-19 were not yet fully understood, a reduction of approximately 20% in revenue from consenting and other activities had been factored into the 2020/21 Annual Plan budget, but this loss of income had been largely offset by increased rating growth and depreciation being lower than what was budget for.

The annual plan also proposed rent increase for tenants living in the council’s pensioner houses be spread over two years instead of one, and introduced a temporary water rate for properties that receive water but do not currently have a water meter installed.

The Mayor and councillors acknowledged that due to Covid-19 it was right to slow the proposed rent increases for tenants of the council’s small pensioner housing portfolio. The Long Term Plan had a target of having the pensioner housing portfolio cover itself financially or break even and not be subsidised by other rate sources. To achieve this, the 14% rent increase that was planned for 2020/21 was instead spread over the next two financial years.

To ensure that residents were not receiving potable water service without paying for it a temporary water rate of $335.59 was reinstated in 2020/21. This affected only the 181 properties around the Waikato district that are connected to water supply, but are without a water meter due to the complexity of installing meters at those properties. 

Click here to go to the WDC website and view the annual plan.

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