Pensioners on fixed incomes are concerned about how rates rises will affect their futures, with one woman saying she has "already started looking" at houses outside of Tauranga.
The Long-term Plan 2021-2031, adopted at the end of July, included an average residential rates rise of 15 per cent. This included the new waste kerbside collection service.
Pāpāmoa homeowner Michele, 71, who would only be known by her first name, lives by herself and said she couldn't afford the projected rates rises over the next decade.
As a result of the rates rises, she had looked at a new development in Te Puke and felt "pretty sick" about leaving.
"I will have to look at moving, and it will have to be out of Tauranga. I don't know where," she said.
"Superannuation isn't going to be going up anything like what the next rate bill will be.
"Otherwise I love my little house – it's only a three-bedroom place with one bathroom."
Michele said she already had a reverse equity mortgage, but she could only tap into that so much.
"I know if I stay here, I'll run out of tapping into it."
Grey Power Western Bay and Tauranga vice-president David Marshall said those who had New Zealand superannuation as their sole or primary income were the ones who were going to suffer the most with "such large increases".
"Those who really have no other income - a cost increase like that is pretty significant for them and they do struggle," he said.
Marshall said Western Bay residents were in a similar situation and he was aware of people in Katikati who had started to look at whether they needed to sell and move.
"If they are forced, they have to move to another community ... and lose their social connections.
"That's a real pressure that starts to come for those who really just don't have much else in the way of assets and income."
Pāpāmoa residents Jesse James and Charles Smithdorf are neighbours in the Golden Sands Lifestyle Village. They currently pay $2200 per year in rates - a 15 per cent increase would be an additional $330 per year.
Smithdorf, 80, said he "absolutely" and "100 per cent" agreed rates rises were forcing people to sell up and leave Tauranga.
"Our little pot of gold is not growing," he said.
"That's the problem – they are leaving the pensioners behind in terms of meeting their commitments and expenses. So when you get to that point, eventually you can't pay for everything. Something's got to crack – you've got to give up something."
Smithdorf said he still worked part-time and his wife worked full-time. They were both on the pension.
"We're going to be subject to future [rate] increases without pension increases, and we're not going to be working forever.
"There are other people here who are living on their own who are pensioners ... I'd hate to think how the hell they are going to cope on a pension only."
James, 67, said he thought having to sell and leave Tauranga was "a big possibility for a lot of people".
"[Rates are] going to double – that's going to put a lot of people on the street," he said.
James said he and his wife had bought a house in the lifestyle village so they could be independent and not reliant on the council.
"There's people in this place who bought into this scheme here of having an affordable home so that they could be independent.
"They're actually penalising people like us ... which is totally wrong.
"All of a sudden they're going to have to start supplying rental properties," he said.
James said rates rises meant they would have to go without in some areas.
"People living in this community here in their 80s and 90s ... they struggle to get by, they just have enough now, let alone with the rates [if they're] going to double over the next five years.
"It's just getting increasingly difficult."
James provided a breakdown of his yearly expenses and how that stacked up against the current pension. This did not include petrol, medical and insurance costs.
"That does not leave you an awful lot out of the pension," he said.
"And they're talking about doubling the rates."
He said in the past, a council valuer admitted publicly their units in his lifestyle block had been overvalued by 45 per cent but they did not get a refund or a reduction in rates.
"What we need to happen is for those rates to be where they should be, half of what they are now ... and give the pensioners a decent bloody income."
Commission chairwoman Anne Tolley said the impacts of rates rises on people living on fixed incomes were "very much part" of commissioners' thinking which is why they were working on policies to help people manage or defer rates costs.
"Retirees are not being told to sell-up," she said.
"Tauranga's rates rises for 2021/2022 and following years reflect the investment required to address the city's needs."
Tolley said the city was grappling with issues that were directly related to the city's rapid growth over an extended period of time, and to the failure by successive elected councils to invest in the infrastructure and community facilities the growing city needed.
"Our recent long-term plan addresses those issues and has also provided for a fairer apportionment of rates costs through significant increases in the commercial rates differential and in development contributions."
Council staff were always available to help ratepayers with flexible payment arrangements or to help citizens on fixed incomes to apply for central government's rates rebate assistance.