A proposed 60 per cent targeted rate increase requested by the Hastings City Business Association has been slammed by building owners.
The $130,000 increase, aimed at businesses in a targeted CBD rating area, was requested as part of the Hastings District Council's annual plan round.
According to the draft 2016-17 annual plan, the council collects a targeted rate called "Hastings City Marketing" which is used to fund the association and its activities in promoting the CBD.
In her submission to the council, the association's general manager, Susan McDade, said a vote amongst her body's membership resulted in 57 for the increase and eight against.
"The goal of the proposed increase is to allow the association to achieve significant benefits for their members," she said.
"This surety of funding will allow the association to plan and budget with appropriate lead-time to develop events and promotions of greater substance and quality."
However, the 32 submissions to the council told a different story with 25 strongly disagreeing with such an increase, as mayor Lawrence Yule pointed out.
"We have had a number of submitters, quite strong submitters, saying we shouldn't do this," he said.
The council officers reported the key themes from those submitters who disagreed with the rating increase did so for reasons such as the amount of money being asked for, the benefit to the wider community not being reflected in the funding of the rate, or their building not being used for retail purposes.
Ms McDade explained she understood the lack of support reflected in the annual plan submissions.
"I realise that, and a lot of the people that voted for it in the membership didn't feel that they needed to submit," she said.
Ms McDade went on to note that currently 79 per cent of money the association received went to overheads and to pay staff wages.
She said without the surety of funding it was impossible to plan and move forward, and that anyone with a business background was going to have a look at the books and say 80 per cent of overhead for core funding was not a sustainable model.
Moreover, she said the body had not had a substantial rate increase in 10 years and no increase in the last four years.
"Expenses have gone up we are doing twice as many events," she said.
"Those are all dependent on the success of this increase."
Councillor Simon Nixon noted the size of the increase, to which Ms McDade agreed.
"It's a huge increase and that is the goal," she said.
"It is packaging Hastings and that benefits all of our members, whether they are retail or not."