Big rise in regional rates

By Matthew Martin


The average Rotorua ratepayer will face a higher regional council rates increase compared with the district council's for the first time.

According to figures provided by the Rotorua District Council's corporate and customer services group manager, Jean-Paul Gaston, the average urban Rotorua ratepayer will face a total rates increase of $51.80 (excluding GST) for the coming financial year.

Of that increase, $22.43 is the district council's portion while the Bay of Plenty Regional Council's portion amounts to $29.38 - an increase of 12.35 per cent compared with last year.

Rotorua ratepayers are also being asked to pay a 14 per cent increase for air quality targeted rates, an 18 per cent increase for lakes restoration rates, and 20 per cent for passenger transport rates.

In its draft Annual Plan for 2013/14, the regional council is trumpeting an overall general rates increase across the region of between $7 and $12 a year.

However, Rotorua faces the highest rates increase for the entire Bay of Plenty.

Whakatane's regional council rates are going up an average of $9.40, Tauranga up an average of $20.16, Opotiki up $9.22 and Western Bay up $9.71.

Mr Gaston said there was not a great deal of awareness in Rotorua regarding the regional council's rates increases, as rates invoices covered both regional and district council rates.

"Some people don't realise there are quite different levels of increases between the councils.

"The Rotorua District Council gets blamed, as we collect the regional council's rates with ours.

"We have tried to make the differences clear, but many people just look at the bottom line."

Rotorua Lakes Community Board chairman Brentleigh Bond said he encouraged Rotorua residents to make submissions to the regional council's draft Annual Plan, which closes on April 28.

He said he was blown away by the regional council's rates increases.

"They are one of the richest councils in the country and I understand it's one of the highest rates increases in the country as well.

"I see from their draft plan their budget for the lakes programme has also dropped by $95,000."

Mr Bond suggested the regional council's plan to progressively remove the subsidy they provide to ratepayers from dividends from the Port of Tauranga was one reason Rotorua's rates were on the rise.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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