Regional rates rises to focus on urban areas

A 4.9% increase in rates across the whole Central Otago District Council region is being proposed, but the reality for urban residents is somewhat different.

While ratepayers across the district face an average increase of 4.9%, as set out by the council in its draft budgets for its 2020-21 annual plan, that figure does not tell the whole story of the differences between town and country.

For urbanites, rates could increase by up to 15% depending on where they live in the district.

Rates led the agendas at the Vincent, Maniototo, and Cromwell community board meetings last week.

In the Maniototo ward, Ranfurly residents may pay a proposed 15% increase. Naseby residents could face a 13% increase and Patearoa 8%.

Alexandra residents could pay 13% more as part of a total 9.4% increase across the Vincent ward area. Residents of Clyde and Omakau face 14% more.

In the Cromwell ward ratepayers are looking at an 11% increase while in Pisa Moorings that figure is 8%.

The increases were approved by the boards ahead of consultation in March.

The council noted there were three key areas pushing its budgets up: the increased costs and service charges that were being demanded of council by outside agencies, unfunded Government mandates and growth.

Water, wastewater, and recycling and rubbish were most impacted by rising costs.

Those activities benefited urban areas the most because most rural properties did not receive them, which meant greater increases had fallen on urban properties.

In 2020-21 the council is likely to focus its public consultation on its proposal to join the Local Government Funding Agency scheme.

Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan said it was an important conversation to have with the community.

"Currently our council has no debt. While this sounds like good news at face value, it causes our council of today significant financial challenges, particularly where we require big expenditure on infrastructure now that will actually serve many generations to come," he said.

"Not just the people paying rates today."



and paying for a new poo system in Clyde but being told I won't get hooked to it for 10 yrs. Not a sound environmental decision me thinks