Council signs off a 2.5% rate increase
Gisborne District Council has adopted its 2013/14 Annual Plan and plans to collect $50m in rates; an increase of 2.5% on the last financial year.
The level of rate increase has been reduced by $2m from what was predicted in Council’s 2012-2022 Ten Year Plan. Actual changes in rates for individual properties will vary depending on where they live, the value of their property and the services provided in different areas.
The changes vary significantly across the district. While 1400 ratepayers are likely to pay slightly less in rates this year, some property owners, will pay significantly more.
The level of increase in parts of rating areas DRA4 and DRA 5 were recently bought to councillors attention. A number of property owners in these areas used the rates calculator on Council’s website to check their likely rates for the 2013/14 year and saw large increases.
Chief executive Judy Campbell says “An assessment of rates on individual properties facing large increases suggests that they are caused by the changes to rating for 3 activities and the district wide rating valuation. The 3 activities - soil conservation, pests and plants and rural fire – are the same activities that caused large swings last year after the rating base for 2 of the rates was changed from land value to a weighted land area basis. Council consulted on and approved a remission for those ratepayers most adversely affected. The basis of the rates has changed back to land value from land area and this has affected other properties in the district.”
Council resolved to review as a matter of urgency the possibility of remission on the three rates.
“The large swings we are seeing each year emphasise the importance of the review of our rating system which is underway. Our current rating system is very complicated. The aim of the review is to make rates easier to understand and to avoid the large swings - increases and decreases – some properties face when small changes are made to how we rate, property values and our plan of work in any given year.”
The focus of the 2013/14 Annual Plan is on putting our plans into action – making progress on the major community projects and ensuring Council keep developing and maintaining the district’s essential infrastructure. Submissions were received supporting this direction as well as a number of submissions requesting funding.
Last month councillors deliberated on the 135 submissions received.
The submissions resulted in a number of changes being made to the plan including the following funding decision:
· $500 to support research into native tree species for honey bees.
· $1867 annually to fund public access to BreakOut – an online database of scholarships, awards and grants
· $5000 for the Gisborne A&P Society to help with traffic management
· $5000 initial funding for a feasibility study for the Tokomaru Bay Heritage Project.
· Up to $7500 towards the building consent and development contributions for the proposed ECT Rescue Helicopter base at Gisborne Airport.
· $9000 extra funding to Surf Lifesaving New Zealand to increase the services at Ūawa.
· $10,000 to establish a general fund to manage public toilet issues as they arise.
· $20,000 funding approved for a memorial wall at Makaraka cemetery.
· $50,000 to establish a general fund to reduce illegal dumping.
· $50,000 to establish a general fund to improve rural drainage issues.
· $100,000 placeholder funding to support development of an Economic Development Agency.
Changes in the draft plan budgets were made to reflect the savings made due to the staff restructure and the expenditure required to address Council’s earthquake prone buildings.