6 March 2020 - Is it the time for Rates Increases?

On the 30th of March all the Okara Ward Councillors, for the Whangarei District Council, agreed that something had to be done to support the community that they represent.  So, they presented to the Mayor and CE 4 points to help with the recovery after the COVID 19 virus.

The four points covered the most essential taxing aspects of Council, and they were:

1/ For the 20/21 rating year, a 0% increase on rates

2/ For the 21/22 rating year, a 2% increase on rates, with a full review completed after that.

3/ SUIP’s be removed from the CBD businesses

4/ All businesses renting/leasing Council land and receiving no income over that period should be rent free.

To date only point 4 is being implemented by the Whangarei District Council, however they have also encouraging anyone who is struggling to pay their rates, to talk to them and they will get them on a payment plan ASAP.

Cr. Cocurullo, states that this virus will be affecting all parts of the economy, from tourism businesses with now no tourists, through to homeowners who now have no income due to loss of employment, and we need to act now!

Cr. Cocurullo, also covers off the effects of the changed rate increases; the Whangarei District Council taxes the community approx. $60m through general rates (according to year 2 of the long term plan) and the proposed 4.5% increase (CPI + 2.5%) means that the loss of additional income will be around $3m, and over the two years this would be a loss of around $4.5m in total.  However, the District also has approx. 600 properties come on the books each year which equates to approx. $3m extra Rates over the two years, so the overall loss would be no more than $1.5m for the two years.

He also then explains that the $1.5m could be absorbed within the savings that the Council can make from staff working from home, and he believes that the actual cost to construct the new Council building should be around $30m not the $48 as the staff would like to spend.

All of the Okara Ward Councillors acknowledge how important paying rates is at keeping a district going forward, and how when used correctly, the rates when balanced with central government funding can go a long way in keeping our community employed.