Bay rates rise sparks anger


Bay residents will have to dig deeper into their pockets this year, with rates rises announced across the board.

The Western Bay District Council had the sharpest rates rise of all three local councils, with an average 5.16 per cent rise.

The Tauranga City Council has adopted a 2 per cent increase, while the Bay of Plenty Regional Council's rates will be going up by 3.5 per cent.

The Western Bay District Council's increase upset Bay of Plenty Federated Farmers vice-president John Scrimgeour, who would be forking out an extra $1200 a year on top of his already large $25,000 rates bill.

"I thought most people had given the council a pretty clear message that they need to be prudent with what's been happening around here, particularly in the kiwifruit sector," the Te Puke farmer said.

The Western Bay should be having very minor increases and the council should be living within its means, Mr Scrimgeour said.

"The rest of us, if we don't have a pay rise we need to cut the cloth to fit.

I think the council should adopt the same approach.

"A 5.16 per cent increase is unreasonable in the current environment and they need to do their homework a bit better."

Western Bay Mayor Ross Paterson said the main contributor to this year's rates increase was the debt for upgraded stormwater, water and wastewater infrastructure.

The uniform annual charges for the infrastructure would increase by 5 per cent and be spread across all ratepayers in the district, even those who did not benefit from the systems.

Mr Paterson said this was because the district's growth was less than expected and the council received $800,000 less than the $5.5 million it had budgeted for from payments made by developers.

He said of the 22,000 ratepayers in the district, there were about 7000 who did not use the water, stormwater or wastewater services.

"We overspent money improving those schemes, a lot of that is capacity for future generations. There's a shortage in growth, so we're finding other ways to fund that shortage."

The rates were also driven up by $851,000 in stormwater works for Waihi Beach.

Tauranga council yesterday signed off its 2013-14 annual plan, which will add $38 to the average rate of $1904.

But not before Councillor Catherine Stewart said the council would need more financial restraint because they were looking at a rates increase next year of about 10 per cent.

She also highlighted the "bow wave" effect from the extra $43.5 million that the council agreed to spend to improve the city's stormwater infrastructure.

"We need more restraint and more care in the prioritisation of the annual plan," she said.

This year's 2 per cent rates rise was 1.5 per cent more than if the council had not been confronted with the reality of what residents in Matua and Mount Maunganui had suffered during April's torrential downpours.

Mayor Stuart Crosby said the council faced a harder job next year to drive down a rating requirement of 10 per cent.

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council dropped its forecast rates rise of 7.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent.

Chairman John Cronin said a number of cost savings had been made, including reducing reliance on contractors.

Rates rises

  • Tauranga City Council: 2 per cent

  • Western Bay District Council: 5.16 per cent

  • Bay of Plenty Regional Council: 3.5 per cent


- Bay of Plenty Times

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