ORC's share of stadium almost paid

The Otago Regional Council is on track to repay its share of the Forsyth Barr Stadium construction costs in less than half the time it originally expected.

The council committed $37.5 million towards the stadium, some of the funds coming from special Port Otago dividends and the rest from residents paying targeted rates from July 1, 2009. In 2010, Inland Revenue commissioner Robert Russell, in a private binding ruling, ruled the stadium could be considered tax deductible, because the council held the same tax status as Port Otago.

Council corporate services director Wayne Scott said Port Otago was able to claim more than $10 million back on taxes it paid on its profits, in what was called a subvention payment process.

At the time, Mr Scott said it would reduce the term of the repayments from 15 years down to ''eight or nine years''.

Yesterday he confirmed that the next financial year would be the last that people would have to pay the full stadium rate, with only $1 million left to pay in the 2015-16 year.

Mr Scott said the council thought at one stage it could make next year the last year for payments but a slight upward shift in interest rates delayed that.

The council takes $2.8 million a year from ratepayers for the stadium and that equates to $32 on the rates bill for an average-price Dunedin property ($270,000).

Dunedin City Council ratepayers will be paying stadium rates for about another 18 years.

- Dan Hutchinson 

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