Rating sale not yet completed

Steve Hill.
Steve Hill.
Tenders closed this month on the first rating sale in the Clutha district since 2011, but there is no indication a sale has been made.

In October, the Clutha District Council put three Clinton properties belonging to the same person - at 8 Main Rd, 6A Main Rd and 10 Halsey St - up for sale because of an undisclosed debt for non-payment of rates.

Tenders closed on the sale of the three properties on November 14, but the High Court at Dunedin has yet to indicate whether a legal sale has been made.

Council chief executive Steve Hill said the council was working with the courts.

''There are still stages in the process to go through,'' he said.

He said he could not comment on the options before the courts, but confirmed the Clinton man had still not settled his rates.

''That would mean we take it off the market, certainly, and that hasn't happened in that sense,'' Mr Hill said.

He said until a sale was final the ratepayer could pay the outstanding amount.

Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan has ruled out forgiving the owner's debt to the council.

''I can't blink for him, because when we blink for him, when do you stop?''

Mr Cadogan said he believed rates rises were increasing at an ''unsustainable pace'' and there were others who struggled to pay rates.

Some ratepayers struggled to put food on the table, and the cost of living put stress on families and put marriages under pressure, he said.

He said this ratepayer was not the only person in the district who had rates in arrears and further rating sales would likely be forthcoming.

''They're coming through. There will be another one,'' he said.

Mr Hill said the other rating sale in process in the district was for a section in Tapanui, and had been ongoing since 2011.

That rating sale had not run to completion due to ''technicalities'', though it had been approved by the court, he said.

There were no rating sale processes waiting for council approval.

''There are a number of properties out there that are in rates arrears. It's the same as any other council. We're not any different in that sense,'' he said.

Mr Cadogan said that as the council discussed its 10-year plan, rates issues had again come to the fore.

He said continual upgrades to the district's core services, which the council legally had to provide, would continue to affect small centres such as the Clutha district.

''We're not the catalyst, we're just fulfilling our legal obligation, and the net result is that we're pushing our communities along faster than they can go,'' he said.

The owner of the Clinton properties said he was tired of rates rises with no visible results, but he was looking forward to an end to a long-standing dispute with the council. He declined to comment further.

hamish.maclean@odt.co.nz

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