Nikki Preston

Nikki Preston is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

3.8% rate rise to help slash Hamilton debt mountain

There has been community outcry as the council considered getting rid of the rose gardens and charging $2 each for library books. Photo / Thinkstock
There has been community outcry as the council considered getting rid of the rose gardens and charging $2 each for library books. Photo / Thinkstock

Hamilton ratepayers will pay a flat 3.8 per cent increase each year for 10 years as the city council tackles its $412 million debt mountain.

The council yesterday came up with a final draft of its budget for the 2012-22 long-term plan, setting ambitious savings targets.

The 3.8 per cent rate annual rise - an average increase of $800 over the 10 years - will help the council achieve its goal of breaking even by year five of the plan.

Over the past three months, there has been community outcry as the council considered everything from getting rid of the rose gardens, charging $2 each for library books, introducing a user pays fees for rubbish bags and moving to a capital value rating system.

While none of the more contentious ideas went ahead, the council did slash budgets and increase service fees.

It also decided against contributing to a $23 million indoor recreation centre, and will sell three blocks of pensioner flats.

Hamilton mayor Julie Hardaker said ratepayers had been horrified at the way the city's debt had grown.

The council also decided against a proposal to move from a land-based to a capital value rating system, deferring the decision for the next review in three years.

The draft long-term plan will be presented to the council for its final approval in February and public consultation will begin in March.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 22 Oct 2014 04:36:54 Processing Time: 490ms