Rates rises weigh on coun­cil­lor’s mind

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - KRIS DANDO

Ris­ing rates has al­ways been a dif­fi­cult one for Tim Shep­pard and he says it’s one of the rea­sons he’s stand­ing down from Porirua City Coun­cil.

The Plim­mer­ton res­i­dent has been a coun­cil­lor since 2007, when he won a seat in the North­ern ward.

He sig­nalled his in­ten­tion to step aside some time ago, say­ing it was time for fresh blood.

Rates rises in Porirua have be­come hard for him to bear, es­pe­cially the 5 per cent pro­jected in­creases fore­cast in last year’s long-term plan for each of the next five years.

‘‘In my years on this coun­cil, the rises have been much higher than I would have liked and it’s one of the rea­sons I’m pass­ing the ba­ton on,’’ Shep­pard said.

‘‘There are re­al­i­ties in­volved, and of­ten it gets political.

‘‘For the next coun­cil it will al­ways be an im­por­tant is­sue.

‘‘I do not think Porirua City Coun­cil is grossly in­ef­fi­cient, but in any or­gan­i­sa­tion there needs to be im­prove­ments made. No-one has the easy an­swer, but we could be do­ing bet­ter.’’

Shep­pard said ratepay­ers wanted bet­ter and newer ser­vices, but these came with a cost.

The re­vised pro­jected rise of 3.7 per cent in the com­ing 12 months was part of a ‘‘bulge’’ in rates rises, he said.

‘‘Things like the cost of the [Trans­mis­sion Gully] link roads are not cheap. We want a bal­anced bud­get, but we’re statu­to­rily obliged to pay for the link roads.’’

The liv­ing wage is still to be de­bated.

It would add a fur­ther 1.6 per cent to any rates rise and Shep­pard said it would be a lot for the coun­cil to take on.

‘‘Where you run into prob­lems is with con­trac­tors. Things start to be­come un­com­pet­i­tive.

‘‘It’s a very open ques­tion and there are strong views on both sides.

‘‘I’m try­ing to keep an open mind, [but] I don’t think it’s a re­al­is­tic op­tion.’’

Shep­pard said amid talks of rates rises and the liv­ing wage, is­sues such as clos­ing li­braries on Sun­days and stop­ping the in­or­ganic col­lec­tion had been lost.

‘‘Those sorts of things are much more im­por­tant to the pub­lic.’’

Tim Shep­pard says rates in­creases will al­ways be on the mind of Porirua City coun­cil­lors.

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