Rates rise of 4.5pc for Porirua

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - JARED NI­COLL

‘‘We want to make sure it doesn't im­pact one gen­er­a­tion more than an­other.’’

An un­ex­pected boost in busi­ness at the tip played a hand in al­low­ing Porirua City Coun­cil to trim this year’s res­i­den­tial rates in­crease from an av­er­age of 4.9 per cent to 4.5 per cent.

Pro­jected rises of more than 5 per cent each year un­til 2021 to help cover big is­sues such as the pre­vi­ously un­der­funded de­pre­ci­a­tion of coun­cil as­sets had been in­di­cated in the 2015-25 Long-Term Plan.

How­ever, Mayor Mike Tana, in his first term, said the coun­cil had cho­sen to use un­ex­pected rev­enue, such as a boost in tak­ings from Spicer Land­fill, to lower that rate rather than in­crease spend­ing. ‘‘We got it to 4.5 be­cause ex­tra­or­di­nary things hap­pened, such as more ser­vice through the land­fill, so we can off­set the 4.9 to 4.5.’’

An in­crease of at least 3.75 per cent was al­ready needed to main­tain the fi­nan­cial plan put in place in 2015 that in­cluded big-ticket is­sues such as smooth­ing over the as­set de­pre­ci­a­tion.

‘‘We’re putting aside money so, when it’s [city as­sets] at the end of its life, we’ve got money to re­place it. It’s a pru­dent thing.

He said the de­ci­sion in the Long-Term Plan was to pay off de­pre­ci­a­tion. ‘‘We want to make sure it doesn’t im­pact one gen­er­a­tion more than an­other.’’

A key part of this year’s in­crease for many ratepay­ers would have come from a reval­u­a­tion of prop­erty val­ues.

Porirua has about 18,000 rate- pay­ers and, with­out a big com­mer­cial base, nearly 73 per cent of the coun­cil’s rev­enue comes from rates.

The coun­cil voted unan­i­mously against in­tro­duc­ing a $1 mil­lion City De­vel­op­ment Rate, rais­ing the ru­ral dif­fer­en­tial from 0.7 to 0.75, and low­er­ing the uni­form an­nual gen­eral charge from $420 to $390.

Porirua Cham­ber of Com- merce ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Tracy John­son con­grat­u­lated the coun­cil on its de­ci­sion to keep rat­ing dif­fer­en­tials un­touched.

Rates were still high for all ratepay­ers in Porirua and this has built up over decades due to the ‘‘lop­sided’’ na­ture of the city’s rat­ing base, which meant the com­mer­cial base was far smaller in com­par­i­son to sim­i­larly sized cities, she said.

‘‘The po­si­tion orig­i­nally adopted by the coun­cil added in­sult to in­jury as prop­erty reval­u­a­tions had seen far higher growth in the res­i­den­tial sec­tor.’’

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