Hamilton ratepayers face rates increases

By Ged Cann

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Hamilton City Council   Photo / file.
Hamilton City Council Photo / file.

Nearly three-quaters of Hamilton ratepayers will face a rates increase this year, with 30 per cent set to receive notifications of increases greater than 10 per cent.

Some ratepayers may be facing increases up to 15 or 20 per cent.

Council revenue manager John Gibson said the change, which will come into effect on July 1, can be attributed to three factors.

The first was a revaluation of properties in September last year, which saw marked increases in property values across the city.

"Those who have high changes in values up will pay a bigger slice of the pie while those who have stayed the same or reduced in values - they will pay less or have no change in the level of their rates," Mr Gibson said.

The valuation figures went out to ratepayers in November, at which time residents were able to query them.

Mr Gibson said the time for questioning valuations had passed, and with them the opportunity to query rates.

"Residents had an opportunity to lodge an objection to their valuations before January 8."

The second factor affecting the changes is the ongoing movement towards a capital value (land and improvements) rating system from a land to a capital rating system.

This year marks the second year of the transition, meaning 20 per cent of any residents rates bill will be calculated using their property's capital value, while 80 per cent remains dictated by land value.

"If you have a highly capitalised property moving another 10 per cent to capital value may have a big effect on your rates," Mr Gibson said.

The third factor is a previous Council decision as part of the 10-Year Plan to increase rates annually by 3.8 per cent.

The overall rates pool will not be affected above this increase and Mr Gibson said it was purely how the pie was divided up that was changing.

While the majority are facing an increase, roughly a quarter of ratepayers will see a decrease in their rates.

Mr Gibson said there was no hard and fast rule for which areas of the city were seeing rates increases.

"As far as residentials it's scattered throughout the city, obviously the north you have all the growth but because they're paying pretty high value for land out there that has to be realigned for the rest of city, so places like Melville or Glenview or Dinsdale, their land values have come up quite substantially because they were at a low base."

When asked if Aucklanders exodus to northern areas of Hamilton would continue to push up rates in the north of the city Mr Gibson said he couldn't comment on the market.

"It won't necessarily, if the capital value doesn't go up higher than the average," he said.

Commercial ratepayers in the city are seeing the opposite trend, with the majority (66 per cent) receiving a rates decrease, while 34 per cent face a rates increase.

"There's been a lot of commercial bulk land out north on which the values have increased dramatically and The Base is one of those," Mr Gibson said.

Rural followed suit, with 65 per cent seeing a rates decrease and 35 per cent seeing an increase.

Commercial ratepayers currently contribute 34 per cent of the overall rates, while rural contributing one per cent.

"The plan is to send out letters to all those who are going to be over 10 per cent, on all categories. There's about 15,000 letters that will go out," Mr Gibson said.

The Facts:

30 per cent of residents will face a rates increase greater than 10 per cent

25 per cent of residents will face an increase of 5-10 per cent

22 per cent will face an increase of 0-5 per cent

23 per cent will face a rates decrease

- Hamilton News

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