Proposed rates rises for Central average 6.7%

The darker Manuherikia River meets the Clutha below the town centre at Alexandra. PHOTO: STEPHEN...
Alexandra. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
Proposed rates increases for Central Otago are pitched at 6.7% on average, but vary widely between property type.

The Central Otago District Council’s proposed 10-year plan could mean some ratepayers face increases of 10% to 50%.

One of the biggest ratings increases was 21.5% for a Cromwell lifestyle block.

In Alexandra, a lifestyle block will attract a 20.5% increase.

For urban centres, rates changes presented a mixed bag — ranging from a 0.4% drop in Alexandra through to an 11.4% hike in Millers Flat.

Rates increase examples provided by the council were calculated at an average of 6.7% district-wide, but when calculated according to property description and location, rates examples show the biggest increase — 52.5% for a large farm in Maniototo — and the biggest reduction, at -9.1% for a hotel in Omakau.

Farms in the Manuherikia could experience increases of between 38.8% and 42.4% depending on size.

Proposed rates increases for the 10-year period on average were 6.7% in year one, increasing to 7.2% in year two and 7.7% in year three before percentages began to fall; from 5.6% in year four to 0.3% in year 10.

Council corporate services manager Leanne Macdonald said in the current financial year many rural properties benefited from a significant decrease in roading depreciation and from the three-yearly revaluations, where urban/residential properties increased significantly more than rural. That was no longer applicable.

Any increase in general rates impacted the rural sector more as they owned more land, and general rates were allocated to rate-payers based on their land value, she said.

The general rate was to increase with the removal of the use of general reserves (savings from prior years) that had been used to offset rate increases. This was no longer sustainable.

Also of note, in the current year, due to the uncertainty around Covid-19, the council elected to run close to a zero rates increase, through funding some costs out of the reserves.

"Obviously you can only use those savings once. Again, general rates are seeing a swing now that these costs have resumed being rated for," she said.

The consultation document Ka Aka Whakamua — Framing our Future outlined key issues for community feedback and was available at council service centres and libraries as well as on the council website.

Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan said he encouraged the Central Otago community to get involved.

"We want our long-term plan to provide some certainty of direction for our community in what are very uncertain times."

The plan would steer the council and the work it undertook in future.

"This is the most important document for the community in the next 10 years.

"It has got some big numbers in it, and the community needs to look at those numbers and see if that is what the community wants," Mr Cadogan said.

Key issues the council wanted feedback on during the consultation period were how a district museum function was delivered, how to progress the Cromwell masterplan, and proposals to support three community-led projects – the Roxburgh community pool upgrade, Alexandra Riverside Park development, and the Omakau Community Hub.

Feedback on the Central Otago District Council’s long term plan 2021 to 2031 opened on Friday and closes on April 25.

Central Otago residents and ratepayers could have their say on Council’s consultation document by filling in the online feedback form at www.codc.govt.nz/framing-our-future.

Those without online access could contact the council for a hard copy submission form.

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