A 9.9 per cent rates increase for households has been confirmed after Auckland councillors voted for a general rates rise of 2.5 per cent.
The general rates rise was approved by the council late this afternoon after councillors voted yesterday for a special targeted rate to top up spending on transport. The overall targeted rate was 4.4 per cent.
Because of revaluations and a plan to lower business rates, the combined impact of the targeted and general rate for households is 9.9 per cent, or an average of $214 from July.
Mayor Len Brown, councillors and two members of the Maori Statutory Board, sitting as the budget committee, have spent two days making final decisions on a new 10-year budget.
The budget process started in March last year. It began with plans for a 2.5 per cent general rates increase. This rose to 3.5 per cent and plans for a motorway toll or petrol tax to meet a $12 billion funding gap over 30 years for transport.
Without agreement from the Government for tolls or a petrol tax, the council opted for an interim targeted rate pending further discussions with the Government on funding options for transport.
A number of factors go into the setting of rates this year. They include the general rate, targeted rate, lowering of the business rate, new property valuations and the final step to move to a single rating system for the Super City.
A combination of these factors have led to rates increases of more than 10 per cent for about 126,000 households and more than 20 per cent for about 30,000 households.
Today, Maungakiekie-Tamaki councillor Denise Krum moved an amendment to cap rates at 20 per cent, leading to a 0.6 per cent increase in the general rate.
She said there was tremendous pressure on those facing 20 per cent-plus rates increases, including people in the poorer suburbs of Pt England and Glen Innes where the new valuations were up by 62 per cent and 55 per cent respectively.
Under earlier figures, Ms Krum said, the average dollar increase for this group was $1377.
Mayor Len Brown said he could not support adding 0.6 per cent on rates, saying it would replace one inequity with another.
Albert-Eden councillor Christine Fletcher said people were frightened.
"We are dealing with pockets in the community where there is going to be substantial pain. There are going to be howls of outrage about rates and you run a very real risk of a rates revolt," she said.
The budget committee defeated Ms Krum's proposal by 15 votes to 8.
Councillors, under fire for proposing a reduction in library hours in the budget, backed down after widespread opposition.
They decided the total number of library hours should stay the same, although some libraries will get longer hours and some less.
Three, including the central library, will keep the same number of hours.
One community to benefit is Birkenhead, where it will get to keep a seven-day service.
Said Mr Brown: "Aucklanders have spoken and we have listened and responded to their concerns."
The council has also agreed to underwrite up to $450,000 for the Auckland Helicopter Trust buy a new helicopter and $1.9 million for surf club rebuilding projects.