Rate plan re­gion’s high­est

Kapiti Observer - - FRONT PAGE - JOEL MAXWELL

Kapiti’s mayor has de­fended a pro­posed rate in­crease that tops the re­gion, ac­cus­ing other coun­cils of ‘‘eat­ing’’ their own fu­ture.

It comes as Kapiti Coast District Coun­cil says it has to pass on the cost of more-valu­able than ex­pected pipes to its ratepay­ers.

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

Welling­ton City came mid­pack for a pro­posed av­er­age 3.3 per cent in­crease, Hutt City was at the bot­tom with 2.3 per cent – but Kapiti Coast District Coun­cil was at the top with 5.9 per cent.

Kapiti’s pro­posal, above pro­jec­tions and the coun­cil’s own cap, comes with­out ad­di­tional lav­ish spend-ups or pet projects.

In­stead the coun­cil had its un­der­ground as­sets reval­ued last year and was told they were worth much more than ex­pected.

Now the coun­cil has to in­crease wear-and-tear charges – de­pre­ci­a­tion – on a more valu­able as­set which, along with in­fla­tion, make up most of the hike.

Kapiti mayor K Gu­runathan said one of the ways other coun­cils kept rate in­creases low was not to fully pay for wear and tear.

‘‘They’re not pay­ing for the fu­ture. They’re just eat­ing the fu­ture.’’

Kapiti’s pro­posal, 1 per cent above pro­jec­tions and the coun­cil’s planned cap of 5.5 per­cent, left ratepay­ers like Ryan Decartier McCarthy dis­ap­pointed.

‘‘If there was some new ser­vices on their way I could maybe un­der­stand, but there is noth­ing new be­ing of­fered to res­i­dents and a lot of this ap­pears to be hush-hush and not be­ing dis­cussed in a open plat­form.’’

He bought his first home in Para­pa­raumu about two years ago and said while he could cope with the pro­posed in­crease, there were tough times ahead.

‘‘My con­cern is we are also fac­ing a new rate­able val­u­a­tion in Au­gust. And there is also men­tion of wa­ter rate in­creases. To­gether with in­ter­est rate rises it seems there is a lot be­ing hit at once.’’

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Pat Dougherty said coun­cils were ex­pected to fully cover wear and tear every year, but ‘‘some coun­cils are leav­ing a mas­sive prob­lem for fu­ture ratepay­ers’’.

The coun­cil had its un­der­ground as­sets reval­ued last year and the value ‘‘went up a lot’’.

‘‘Then your bal­ance sheet is worth more . . . but you’ve then got to fund the de­pre­ci­a­tion on them.’’ Sub­mis­sions on the pro­posal close at 5pm, May 1.

Kapiti mayor K Gu­runathan

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