Council fights levy law changes
The Queenstown Lakes District Council is gearing up to fight a proposed law change which could cause a 5 per cent rates increase and put the future of the Wanaka Sports Facility in doubt.
Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Vanessa Van Uden and council chief executive officer Adam Feeley are likely to make a trip to Wellington’s parliamentary select committee once the council approves their stand over development contributions – levies paid to the council when large building developments require council infrastructure, such as roading and water and sewerage.
In recent years, the council’s revenue from such levies has been about $4 million to $7m a year.
Ms van Uden also urged ratepayers to have their say as a change could means an average 5.7 per cent rates increase.
Under the bill, councils would no longer be able to levy development contributions for community infrastructure, other than public toilets, playgrounds, and community halls, she said. Other infrastructure, such as parks and sporting facilities, would have to be funded from rates.
As a high-growth district which already had the $16m Wanaka Sports Facility budgeted for by using development contributions, the change would only result in higher rates, Ms van Uden said.
"In a high-growth community like ours, developers have quite reasonably been required to make contributions to offset the financial impact their development has on the district. Population growth also means we have to invest in additional community infrastructure such as . . . library capacity, new parks, sports fields and other recreational needs."
Queenstown Lakes District coffers were primarily ratesfunded to 55 to 60 per cent, but topped up by Queenstown Airport Corporation dividends and development contributions accounting for 10 to 20 per cent of yearly income in the past five years.
"Our message is simple – if you don’t want to pay more as a ratepayer for existing or future community infrastructure, then you need to make your views known."