Households throughout the district have been sent a heads-up letter from Kāpiti Coast District Council about what their likely rates increase will be for the coming rating year which starts on July 1.
Council is proposing an average rates increase of 7.8 per cent for 2021/2022 in the Draft Long-term Plan 2021-41.
Some areas have got higher average increases with Ōtaki leading the way.
The breakdown, on page 86 of the Long-term Plan 2021-41 community consultation document April 2021, gives the percentage increase and money increase for each area [excluding Greater Wellington Regional Council rates]:
Paekākāriki: 7.7 per cent, $236.
Paraparaumu/Raumati: 7.9 per cent, $251.
Waikanae: 3.9 per cent, $128.
Ōtaki: 13.2 per cent, $337.
Rural: 6.9 per cent, $135.
Commercial: 7.9 per cent, $288.
Kāpiti News caught up with mayor K Gurunathan to find out more about the rates increase.
Why is the proposed average rates increase of 7.8 per cent so high?
Included in the 7.8 per cent is the Local Government Cost Index (inflation) which is 3.2 per cent. Also included is the cost of depreciation at 3 per cent. The rising costs of materials and the flow-on effects of the pandemic can't be avoided. This leaves an increase of 1.6 per cent which covers a range of investment areas like the $785k to initiate council involvement in housing solutions, one of the biggest challenges faced by the country. Like other councils, the national government, and governments across the world, we have responded to the negative economic impact of the pandemic by investing in stimulating the economic recovery and creating jobs. We are also providing for the infrastructure renewals and upgrades to maintain core services and prepare for the projected growth.
Why have some areas of the district got higher figures than the average increase?
Along with the rest of the country, Kāpiti properties have risen significantly in value and they have risen higher in some areas of the district than others. Council has no control of the market. Rising property values in the district does not affect the total rates council collects but it does affect how the rates contributions are shared. If the value of your property has increased by more than the average across the district then your "share" of the rates will go up. Conversely, if your increased property value is lower than the district average then your "share" will be less than before, making your increase less than the average.
What do you say to people who are dismayed at their proposed rates increase?
I encourage them to have their say. We are dealing with some complex issues and tough decisions so it's important we hear from the people from our communities to help us determine what matters most. Don't forget, people who qualify do have access to rates rebates and rates remissions.
What is council doing, or not, to reduce the average rates increase?
Our preference would be to have a lower average rates increase but we are facing rising costs on all fronts and we have no choice but pass these costs on. We are also poised for the growth projected for the district and the plan is a bold response to that. Council has spent the last few years managing our financial position and this allows us to invest in our infrastructure now to cater for this growth. Our proposed Capital Works programme aims to deliver projects that support recovery and provide infrastructure renewals and upgrades. Failure to invest now will only mean trying to play catch up in the future or worse see the typical failure in basic infrastructure plaguing some councils.
What ballpark will the final average rates increase be?
Look. I'm comfortable with the draft plan and its proposed rise that we have put before the community for engagement. If the community comes back with something different then we'll have to take a closer look at the proposed activities and the levels of service council provides.
How much will public feedback influence council's final decision about the rates increase?
Councillors will carefully consider all the submissions council receives. In making decisions councillors, as the community's elected representatives, will weigh up a range of factors including what matters most to our community right now and what's the risk of not investing in the infrastructure renewals we need to to maintain our core services and prepare for the projected growth.
- Council, which is asking for feedback now, meets to discuss the adoption of the final Long-term Plan 2021-41 in June. The first rates instalment of the new rates will be sent out in August.