Mayor de­fends pro­posed rates hike

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - VIR­GINIA FAL­LON

Porirua’s pro­posed rates hike is the sec­ond high­est in the re­gion and the city’s mayor says it’s partly the fault of previous coun­cils.

Mayor Mike Tana said the 4.9 per cent pro­posed rise came be­cause coun­cil had pre­vi­ously un­der­funded de­pre­ci­a­tion - the cost of wear and tear on its as­sets - but was now deal­ing with it.

‘‘Past coun­cils didn’t ac­count for it and we’re play­ing catch up now.

‘‘We had to build it into a fiveyear plan to pay off which is why our rates are up.’’

Sky-rock­et­ing house val­u­a­tions and a $3.5 mil­lion bill for flood­ing and earth­quakes that shook the city were also to blame, he said.

Tana said city res­i­dents en­joyed some of the district’s high­est ser­vice lev­els and ratepayers didn’t want those cut to keep their rates down.

‘‘Every sin­gle one of our coun­cil­lors is a ratepayer - we want to keep rates down for ev­ery­one.’’

Porirua came sec­ond only to the Kapiti Coast, whose res­i­dents are fac­ing a pro­posed 5.9 per cent in­crease.

As of last week, all nine coun­cils in the re­gion have be­gun con­sul­ta­tion on pro­posed rate in­creases for the next billing year, start­ing in July.

Welling­ton City Coun­cil is run­ning mid-pack, with a pro­posed av­er­age 3.3 per cent in­crease.

Lower Hutt is at the bot­tom with 2.3 per cent, and Kapiti Coast District Coun­cil is at the top, with 5.9 per cent.

Over on Neigh­bourly, news of the rates in­crease was greeted with frus­tra­tion by Porirua res­i­dents.

Leina Isno from Pare­mata said she wasn’t ‘‘a happy camper’’, hav­ing just paid her rates and al­ready the next lot was due.

‘‘It feels like a rip-off! No breath­ing space to even save up. ‘‘

Mike Rodgers said Cam­borne was fac­ing a 10 per cent in­crease be­cause of the prop­erty value in­creases.

‘‘Rates should be a cost re­cov­ery ex­er­cise to fund crit­i­cal core ser­vices & in­fras­truc­ture not an op­por­tunis­tic cash grab to build sur­pluses or fund pet projects.’’

John Dun­lop from Pare­mata said he had never been both­ered about rates be­fore but won­dered how the in­crease was jus­ti­fied ‘‘given the sub­stan­tial hike in prop­erty val­ues.’’

Tai Roach from As­cot Park per­haps summed it up best with her com­ment.

‘‘Shiv­ers.’’

PHOTO: ELEANOR CATER

Ma­jor flood­ing con­tribued to a rates in­crease, Mike Tana says.

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