Increasingly late on paying rates
The amount of Porirua homeowners late in paying rates rose to almost one in five last year.
Details revealed under the Official Information Act showed 2933 properties owed a total of $1.2 million on July 1, 2017, up from 864 owing $745,000 on July 1, 2014.
Porirua has 18,693 ratepayers in total, and rates are not legally in arrears until July 1 of a new rating year.
Mayor Mike Tana pointed out that the 2933 figure had since fallen to just 39 properties owing $45,000 last month.
‘‘The figures were a snapshot of a point in time and not accurate for where we are today because people are constantly clearing their arrears.’’
Tana said it was not just a Porirua issue.
‘‘Many people across the country are grappling with the costs of housing, whether they own or rent their homes.
‘‘There are many factors that determine affordability and again these are nationwide matters that we know central government is working to improve.’’
On July 1, council staff contact banks with information about arrears and work with homeowners on a payment arrangement.
Then on November 1, staff could send a demand notice to the banks for any rates that are still outstanding and almost all rates are paid by the bank at that time, Tana said.
Rates were higher than he would like, but he said there were important factors behind a proposed annual 5.25 per cent increase for each of the next four years.
‘‘Porirua has a small number of ratepayers relative to the population so fewer people pay the bill. And we don’t have ports, airports or large commercial areas to help subsidise residen- tial rates.’’
Plimmerton resident and commercial real estate agent Chris Gollins requested the details and made a submission to the council urging it not to increase rates.
‘‘These arrears figures are so bad you can only speculate that councillors were unaware that they’re imposing the cost of their wish lists on families who’ve already put their hands in the air.
‘‘At what point do you say enough’s enough when councillors are using their power to cripple the very people they’re supposedly serving?’’
He suspected peak amounts of people in arrears would continue to grow.
Figures showed 2933 properties owed the council a total of $1.2 million on July 1 last year. Mayor Mike Tana