Whangārei District Council rates rises will more than halve original forecasts after councillors last week decided on a proposed 2.2 per cent rates reset for the coming financial year.
The council had originally planned a 5.2 per cent rates increase for 2020/2021 but, at its council meeting in late April, voted to revise that to 2.2 per cent - subject to public feedback.
"The globe has gone through a seismic shift with Covid," Whangārei District Council Mayor Sheryl Mai told the live-streamed meeting.
"We know our ratepayers have been affected by this, which is why we are resetting," she said.
WDC next goes out for public consultation around this figure before finally confirming its rates for the coming financial year.
The timing of the reset means the council will now likely not set its 2020/2021 rates until after the business year starts on July 1. Consultation starts on May 15, ending on June 4.
It won't be much like a typical consultation, however. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the council is looking at how to address the process's traditional face-to-face features.
A soon-to-be-released document will outline the reasons for the reset. It will include implications of this increase for residents and council services. It will also include the implications of the three other year's rating options, turned down by council majority in the lead-up to the meeting.
"I believe going out to consultation with the 2.2 per cent, in line with inflation, is the prudent course of action," Mai said.
"Once the community sees the information we put out in a consultation document, they will see the amount of effort that has gone into re-evaluating, to reshape and to restart our budgets," she added.
Councillors had, before last week's meeting, thrashed out 2.2 per cent as being the best rates reset option, weighing up competing factors such as council services impact, its ability to help community sectors hardest hit by Covid-19 and the council's recovery leadership role.
The other options considered were to stick with the status quo 5.2 per cent rise; a 3.2 per cent rise or zero increase.
Mai said there would be those in the community who wanted the council to maintain its status quo 5.2 per cent rates increase and those who wanted a zero rates rise. Council would listen to feedback and make its decision from there.
At the meeting, councillors Vince Cocurullo, Phil Halse, Gavin Benney and Jayne Golightly were keen to see the WDC choose a proposed zero rates rise for 2020/2021 and attempted from the outset to ensure this would be the choice the council sought public consultation on.
But Mai, deputy mayor Greg Innes and councillors Shelley Deeming, Anna Murphy, Nick Connop, Ken Couper, Tricia Cutforth, Greg Martin, Carol Peters and Simon Reid voted in favour of the 2.2 per cent rates reset.
The meeting can be viewed on WDC's Facebook page at facebook.com/WhangareiDC.
The proposed 2.2 per cent rates increase means an average urban residential property with a $291,000 land value would pay $2131 in rates for the coming year – down $33 from the $2164 it would have been paying with a 5.2 per cent increase.
An urban residential property with $448,000 land value would pay $2509 in rates for the coming year – down $34 from the $2543 it would have been paying with the 5.2 per cent.
A residential lifestyle property with $570,000 land value would pay $2048 in rates for the coming year - down $21 from $2069 with a 5.2 per cent rise.
A high-value residential lifestyle property with $2.112 million land value would pay $4401 in rates for the coming year – down $34 from $4435 with a 5.2 per cent rise.
A commercial property with $496,000 land value would pay $8889 in rates for the coming year - down $482 from pre rates reset of $9371 with a 5.2 rise.
An industrial property with $2.290 million land value would pay $38,778 in rates – down $2176 from $40,954 with a 5.2 per cent rise.