Rates rises weigh on councillor’s mind
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.