Backing for lowering stadium rates

Dunedin city councillors have given initial backing to a proposal to slash the Forsyth Barr Stadium's $2 million annual rates bill.

Councillors at yesterday's pre-draft budget meetings voted in favour of resolutions that would cut the rates bill for Dunedin Venues Management Ltd - the company running the stadium - from $2 million a year to a more manageable $134,000 a year.

That amounted to a 93% discount on the venue's city council rates, and kept the bill within the company's $200,000 budget to pay both city and regional council rates.

It meant the council would be receiving the same rates as it would have from properties previously occupying the stadium site, and the bill would be adjusted by the council in future years based on the annual rates increase, councillors agreed.

The move came after a report to yesterday's meeting said, given the stadium's "exceptional" value, the council had to consider how its addition into the mix of city property values could be managed without "distorting" the rating impacts on other properties.

Council finance and resources general manager Athol Stephens said the addition of a $200 million building in Dunedin would lower the rates of non-residential properties, as DVML would have been paying a percentage of the total.

The council would also otherwise need to add money to DVML's budget to pay the bill, he told yesterday's meeting.

Councillors voted to accept the recommendations without debate, meaning the changes would be incorporated into draft budgets to be presented for public consultation in March.



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