Hamilton Mayor Andrew King's annual rates bill will drop about 14 per cent saving him almost $22,000 under the council's proposed rates changes, according to data supplied to the Herald.

Hamilton residents received letters last week informing them of a proposed average rates increase of 9.5 per cent for the next two years and 3.8 per cent for the following eight.

The changes, outlined in the council's draft long-term plan, are based on the council's preferred option to increase rates, move to capital value rating faster and introduce a $500 uniform annual general charge (UAGC).

An investigation by the Herald shows King's Hamilton properties, which were verified by property information company CoreLogic or title information, would have an overall decrease in rates from $153,348.49 to $131,476 in 2018/19 as calculated using the council's online rates calculator.

About 21 per cent of ratepayers (12,200 people) would see their rates decrease or remain unchanged under the proposal.

Advertisement

King has significant property interests in the city. The Herald's search shows he owns or has an interest in more than 30 addresses.

The council's conflict of interest register for elected members states he is the owner of a property in Hamilton Central and a beneficiary of trusts that own various properties in Hamilton East, Dinsdale, Nawton and Frankton.

The majority of the properties King owns or has an interest in are lower value commercial properties in Frankton and Nawton.

King's own home in Liverpool St in central Hamilton, which has a capital value of $1.37m, will also see a significant decrease under the proposal, with his rates dropping 16 per cent to $6800 for 2018/19.

In the letter sent out to ratepayers from Hamilton City Council chief executive Richard Briggs last week, the council outlined its plan to move to a full capital value rating system 2018/19. The proposed rates also include a new $500 UAGC and an $11.50 charge for the Hamilton Gardens.

Under this plan to accelerate the move from land value to capital value, properties with relatively high value buildings are likely to pay more in rates, while properties with cheaper buildings would pay less.

"There's going to be a number of industrial properties that will be getting a decrease," Briggs told the Herald.

"In fact given the nature of Hamilton and how the shift from land to capital value works, quite a few properties where there are large land holdings, but small workshops tend to get a reduction because it's just the nature of the fact that capital value in comparison to land value is quite low.


The Herald provided King with a spreadsheet on Sunday morning of the properties it's understood he owned and estimates of how much he stood to save. But he replied that he was unable to look at the document or respond until later in the week.

Hamilton Residents and Ratepayers Association president Mischele Rhodes said ratepayers were angry over the proposed changes which were going to hit young families and retirees.

Instead of focusing on the savings the mayor was going to make, Rhodes said she was more interested in the people on fixed incomes and how much more they were going to have to pay.

"Andrew has always said he got into local politics because he cared about what is happening to Hamilton. I can't make a comment about whether he's winning or losing on it, but I think the focus needs to be on the ordinary ratepayer who cannot afford to pay any more.

Hamilton Grey Power president and former city councillor Roger Hennebry said rates were increasing by an average $500 per ratepayer. He feared it could drive pensioners out of the city.

Rates on Hennebry's own home in Harrowfield were jumping 45 per cent - an extra $1700 in the first year.

"If [King's] going to be that financially better off then he's not thinking of the poorer people in town ... or the superannuitants."

Hennebry urged councillors to raise a potential conflict of interest in connection with King's property portfolio.

Briggs said any elected member who thought there could be a conflict on an item should approach him in the first instance. They could also ask the Auditor General for advice.

As the proposed rates policy was not being voted on yet, it was too early for that to happen, he said.

Council voted on the proposed rating changes last year as part of its draft long term plan discussion. It is a softer approach from King's initial proposal in November which was to increase rates by 16.5 per cent to deal with what he described as the city's debt problem.