An Auckland apartment owner says she's being charged for services the building's residents don't even use.
Sylvia Vaughan said owners of the 44 apartments in her Stancombe Rd complex in Flat Bush pay a private company to collect their rubbish and don't use the council service.
But Auckland Council says it was an oversight and they should have been paying it from the outset.
Vaughan is among dozens of apartment owners in Flat Bush and Manukau set to be charged the $223 council fee for the first time after it was included in their July rates bill.
Auckland Council said all residential property owners in the South Auckland area must pay for council rubbish collection regardless of whether they use the service and these owners had only escaped the fee through an oversight.
Yet Vaughan maintained the charge was unfair.
"I realise it's not a lot of money, but it's the principle," she said.
"We are already paying all this extra money for the petrol tax and now they want to chuck this on our rates."
Her lament comes as Auckland Council recently looked to boost its coffers by introducing a regional fuel tax on July 1.
That levy generated $13.2 million in its first month of operation – $700,000 more than initial estimates.
The recent crackdown on South Auckland apartment owners not paying their rubbish collection fee only came about after a roll out of new bins in the area.
It was then council officers identified Vaughan's apartment complex and two other "medium density" blocks in the Manukau area weren't paying, the head of rates valuations and data management, Debbie Acott, said.
Acott said council would be contacting the affected ratepayers to come to "a fair solution to the implementation of the charge" that brings them in-line with "standard policy".
She said council was working towards a "user-pays" system for Auckland rubbish collection services.
However, in the meantime, rubbish services and charges continued to be based on those offered by the old city councils that existed before the merger into one body under Auckland Council.
This meant that in Vaughan's area the old Manukau City Council service charges still apply and she cannot opt out of paying them.
The only people who can opt-out are owners of apartments in blocks of more than 10 units in the former Auckland City Council area because this was a choice that was offered before the new Auckland Council was set up.
Despite this, Vaughan can't help but feel short-changed.
"Sometimes it feels like they are trying to get money off you any way they can, and there isn't anything you can do about it," she said.