Rent hike no fun for Kids at Play
A Mt Eden daycare centre may be forced to increase charges to meet a 24 percent rates hike demanded by Auckland City Council.
The Kids at Play centre’s plea for rates relief was turned down by the community services committee last week.
Parent Donnell Alexander says the decision is disappointing.
“We feel that we’re totally powerless in this situation. We couldn’t afford to get a lawyer to go against the market rent review to start with. We can’t just up sticks and go somewhere else.”
The centre owns the Bellwood Ave building but rents the land from the council.
Rent was increased after a scheduled review carried out by an independent valuer.
Families have already faced a 5 percent increase this year, and are fundraising to complete essential maintenance on the 100-year-old building.
Resource consent has been approved and work needs to go ahead, Ms Alexander says.
“We can’t not do it, so our only option will be to look at putting up charges.”
At the meeting councillor Richard Northey tried to have the rent held at the previous level while the council’s leasing policy is reviewed.
“I think it’s better to apply a lower lease until we get a report in March to sort this out,” he said.
But members voted to confirm market rates, while also calling for a report on anomalies in the council’s lease policy.
Chairman Paul Goldsmith said the “higgledypiggledy” system needs reviewing.
“We need to tidy up the anomalies going forward, and make it clear that the council shouldn’t be in a haphazard manner subsidising some childcare centres and not others.”
Councillors also considered a request from the Parnell Trust, who received a similar rent hike on its Gladstone Park early childhood centre.
Members confirmed the market rent for the trust, but also agreed to a one-off $15,000 grant.
The trust was considered a special case because profits are spent on community programmes, supported by the council.