At the time of writing (Monday, May 18) members of the rural community and a team from your Federated Farmers executive had pulled together a presentation of the district council's proposed rate increases.
Essentially, (it is) an increase of 6 per cent for urban residential, 8 per cent for rural residential property, 11 per cent for the business community and 19 per cent for the farming community.
This presentation will be part of a consultation programme being taken to the rural community.
As farmers put their properties through the district council website calculator, we have a range from a 3 per cent increase for a grazing property up to 69.5 per cent increase for a dairy farm, with a regional council rate increase to go on top of that.
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For our home farm in Forest Rd, Reporoa, we have a projected rate increase of 42 per cent. That figure represents $4203.00 of additional rates that won't be spent with local community businesses.
Although we have yet to have our four consultation meetings within our rural communities, there is certainly anger and frustration developing in the feedback we have had to date.
The frustration is not only within the rural sector. I spoke recently with two Rotorua businessmen. One said he was busy enough but had shed staff to keep it that way and the other commented that he had been at a Rotorua business function recently where only three of 12 people put their hands up when asked to indicate if they were experiencing growth.
When businesses and communities are struggling for growth surely an increased rate take will be of no help.
Councils do not create wealth, and it has been documented that only 40 cents of each dollar the council collects will find its way back into the community.
The objective of this process is to put a real focus on all council spending and their ability to keep to budget and to concentrate on absolutely core functions. We will be encouraging those who attend to make their own submissions to council. As rural people, we have no problem paying our fair share to a council that runs lean and focused. We are not at that position at this point.