Desire to revisit rating options

The Waitaki District Council is to take a look at inequalities in its rating system arising from revaluations, but not in time to offset the impact on some farming properties this year.

While the council set an overall 3.9% increase in its rates takes, some farmers face rises of up to 25%, or more, because of changes last year in property valuations.

That led some councillors to propose a rates remissions policy to be investigated, prompted by a submission from North Otago Federated Farmers calling for some method to ease the impact of valuations.

The issue was raised again at a recent council meeting, when the proposal to start consulting on a rates remission policy, similar to that used by the Central Otago District Council, be investigated was raised again.

That proposal was lost. However, councillors have asked for a workshop to look at a review of rating system inequalities.

Cr Kevin Malcolm, who represents the mainly rural Corriedale ward, said new valuations had completely distorted projections made in the council's 10-year long term plan.

A rates remission policy was about equality and balancing the rating structure, he said.

However, some councillors were not happy about making changes, Cr Peter Garvan saying that all it would do would be to transfer the impact from one sector to the other and raise expectation in the rural sector which might not be met.

Cr Craig Dawson pointed out the council already had a policy to remit rates under extraord-inary circumstances and could look at individual requests.

While the council is to look at options, it will probably be left to the new council after October's election to make any further moves. Council staff doubted even a workshop could be convened before the election because of pressure from other projects.


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