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The Dunedin City Council has backed a higher-than-expected rates rise of 7.84%, after agreeing to a series of last-minute funding boosts yesterday.
The council has also signed off on a 4% increase in most fees and charges, despite an acrimonious exchange that brought Crs David Benson-Pope and Lee Vandervis to loggerheads.
But Mayor Dave Cull insists the rates hike, like the fees and charges, are just a normal part of the cycle as cities invest in their futures.
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The comments came as councillors ended three days of deliberations on their 10-year plan by signing off on changes yesterday, subject to final confirmation at a full council meeting on June 26.
And, after granting last-minute funding boosts totalling $710,000 for 2018-19, the forecast rates increase for the year climbed from 7.3% at the start of the week to 7.84% late yesterday.
That was within the council's new self-imposed rates limit of 8% for the first year, but prompted Cr Vandervis to question whether 8% was the target, while Cr Doug Hall observed it was Dunedin's second-highest rates increase since 1989.
Council chief executive Sue Bidrose said the city's rates would remain in the lower quartile, while other centres across the country eyed increases of between 3% and 15%.
''I imagine it will change our standing a little, but we are still near the bottom,'' she said.
Mr Cull said cities went through cycles of investment, leading to periods of higher rates increases, but the alternative would be worse.
Those cities that kept rates artificially low by not spending in the short term were eventually forced to catch up, leading to ''massive rates increases'' later, he said.
''They pay the price in the end. The idea is to try to keep it smooth, but every now and then you have got to invest,'' he said.
Councillors voted to endorse the changes, including the rates hike, despite Cr Vandervis voting against the resolution.
Earlier, he also railed against a 4% increase in most council fees and charges, also signed off by councillors yesterday, saying the increases might as well be called ''fees and gouges''.
''It's yet another rates increase that is in a fees and charges guise,'' he said.
Cr Benson-Pope objected, saying the comment was ''irresponsible'' and ''pretty offensive'' to councillors and staff.
''They might be acceptable to his less-than-critical support base, but they are not accurate and they are not honest,'' Cr Benson-Pope quipped.
Mr Cull also took issue with Cr Vandervis' comments, saying if fees did not rise, rates would .
''You raise these [concerns] every time, and you get an explanation every time, regardless of whether you like it or not.
''It's one or the other.''