A councillor has accused his colleagues of "fiscal irresponsibility" after they voted down his rates increase proposal.

Last night Tauranga City Council voted for an average residential rates rise of 3.9 per cent (4.3 per cent including the glass collection service) after two days of Annual Plan deliberations.

Councillor Max Mason moved for the council to add a 2 per cent debt retirement levy on top of the increase but was voted down.

The council rejected a similar levy in February.

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Mason argued the council's debt was ballooning and failing to do anything about it now was "irresponsible".

He said the council's $440 million in debt was projected to double within four years and hit $1 billion four years later.

Ratepayers were benefiting from the city's "economic boom" and rising property values, so could afford the average extra $50 his proposal would cost.

"Our city is doing incredibly well and has been doing well for some time.

"This is the best time ever to have a small rates increase."

Mayor Greg Brownless and councillors Rick Curach, Catherine Stewart, Steve Morris, John Robson, Leanne Brown and Bill Grainger voted against the levy.

Tauranga city councillor Rick Curach. Photo / File
Tauranga city councillor Rick Curach. Photo / File

Curach said it would be more prudent for the council to spend less.

He said 10 years ago the council sought $82m in rates. This year it was $180m - a 119 per cent increase. In the same period, the number of properties in the city grew by 16 per cent.

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"The rates requirement has gone up 100 per cent after growth."

Brown said the community had lost confidence in the council due to its "mistakes".

"Until we have regained that trust, I don't think we can ask for more gold to put in the pot."

Robson said rates increases were passed on to renters who were not benefiting from increased house values.

Deputy Mayor Kelvin Clout and councillors Larry Baldock and Terry Molloy supported Mason's motion.

Clout said: "We can't lump future generations with costs of today's projects and services."

Tauranga City Council Deputy Mayor Kelvin Clout. Photo / File
Tauranga City Council Deputy Mayor Kelvin Clout. Photo / File

Molloy said the council could not bury its head in the sand.

"Until we find other ways of funding the council, I think we need to do this."

Baldock said he did not agree that the way to deal with debt was to get rid of stuff.

"We went through a process today to get rid of stuff and didn't get rid of much and we never do.

"We heard from our youth. They said please don't leave all this for us."


Debt reduction levy of 2 per cent

Yes: Deputy Mayor Kelvin Clout and councillors Max Mason, Larry Baldock and Terry Molloy.

No: Mayor Greg Brownless and councillors Rick Curach, Catherine Stewart, Steve Morris, John Robson, Leanne Brown and Bill Grainger.