The average Tauranga homeowner may face a $141 increase in their rates bill from July - but some suburbs could be hit up to 10 times harder than others.

The average residential rates bill in the city would rise to $2875 a year - $7.88 a day - under draft budgets proposed by the Tauranga City and Bay of Plenty Regional Councils for 2019-20.

The city council has deferred major projects to meet elected officials' demand to cut its forecast average increase for the year by almost half, from 7.5 per cent ($185) to 3.9 per cent ($102), or the consumer price index (CPI) plus 2 per cent - not including a charge of $31.30 per bin for kerbside glass collection.

That was in spite of the risk of a debt ceiling breach in the coming years with capital costs for big infrastructure projects expected to increase beyond what was budgeted for.


Submissions to the city council's Annual Plan close at 5pm today.

The regional council upped its increase from the 5.3 per cent forecast to 6.5 per cent across the Bay of Plenty. Its rates in Tauranga were set to rise 10.7 per cent or $39 on average.

A suburb-by-suburb breakdown of both councils' average rates increases in Tauranga provided to the Bay of Plenty Times, showed the steepest lifts in suburbs where property values have risen fastest.

The draft average rates increase in Mount Maunganui Central was just under $350, 10 times higher than Matapihi's $35.

The Mount suburb, where the rateable value of average property rose by more than half over the past three years to $1.2m, looked set to remain the suburb with Tauranga's most expensive rates.

The proposed increases would take the average rates bill in both central and north Mount Maunganui to over $10 a day.

Pricey projects like the redevelopment of the Phoenix carpark into a controversial urban space have some Mount residents worried. Photo / File
Pricey projects like the redevelopment of the Phoenix carpark into a controversial urban space have some Mount residents worried. Photo / File

Mount Central resident Mike Williams said the system of charging rates based on property values was "antiquated".

"I struggle with why, because my property is worth more, I should pay more rates. I get the same services."


He said the formation of a new ratepayers' group for the area, of which he was a member, was evidence of growing concern in the Mount community about the Tauranga City Council's "wasteful" spending and management issues.

He cited as examples the council's $2.5 million redevelopments of the old Phoenix carpark - which had budget management issues - and the need for up to $4.1m in repairs to the 14-year-old Baywave TECT Aquatic and Leisure Centre.

Tauranga mayor Greg Brownless. Photo / File
Tauranga mayor Greg Brownless. Photo / File

Tauranga mayor Greg Brownless said the rates system was a "New Zealand-wide issue".

Councils were being asked to provide more services yet still had to rely on property-based rates as their main source of funding.

He wanted to see the council stay away from funding things that should be the Government's responsibility, and the Government sharing some of the millions in tax it earned from local property developments and tourism with local councils.

Brownless was interested to see the results of the Productivity Commission's ongoing review of local government funding but was not expecting much change.

He said the council was making "big changes" to improve its management practices and looking at ways to manage growth-related debt with the Government. He noted he voted against the Phoenix redevelopment, and said Baywave was a community asset valued and used by many.

Matapihi was set for the lowest average increase of any suburb - $35, which was all regional council rates, with city council rates set to decrease by $1 on average.

Matapihi Residents and Ratepayers Association chairman Greg Milne said it was a pleasant surprise and one he thought most in the rural community would feel was well-earned.

Citywide average rates increases

Tauranga City Council

Rates increase (%): 3.9 per cent (minus glass)

Rates increase ($): $102

Total rates: $2474

Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Tauranga
Rates increase (%): 10.7 per cent
Rates increase ($): $39
Total rates: $401

Rates increases: Suburb by suburb

Combined average Tauranga City Council and Bay of Plenty Regional Council proposed rates increases by suburb:

Arataki/Royal Palm: $140
Bellevue/Brookfield: $118
Bethlehem: $82
Gate Pā: $118
Greerton: $85
Hairini/Poike: $129
Judea: $98
Matapihi: $35
Matua: $127
Maungatapu: $155
Mount Maunganui Bayfair: $205
Mount Maunganui Central: $346
Mount Maunganui North: $226
Ohauiti: $129
Otumoetai: $181
Pāpāmoa: $102
Pāpāmoa Hills: $74
Pyes Pa: $148
Tauranga Central: $71
Tauranga South: $115
The Lakes $57
Welcome Bay: $114