New rates in Hurunui LTP


The im­pact of earth­quakes will af­fect ratepay­ers in the Hurunui district for at least an­other decade. The Hurunui District Coun­cil has ap­proved its draft Long Term Plan 2018-2028 (LTP) for pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion. Among the key is­sues are new rates in­cor­po­rat­ing earth­quake debt, earth­quake-prone build­ings and foot­path main­te­nance, road fund­ing and the Am­ber­ley Pool.

Fol­low­ing the Hurunui earth­quake in 2016, the HDC was left with around $3m of debt – the bal­ance af­ter in­surance pay­outs, govern­ment as­sis­tance, and ex­ter­nal fund­ing – due to the dam­age and sub­se­quent re­pair to coun­cilowned in­fras­truc­ture in­clud­ing roads, bridges, wa­ter pumps, pipes and build­ings. To pay off that debt, the coun­cil has pro­posed a new gen­eral rate that would be charged evenly across the district rather than tar­get ratepay­ers in spe­cific ar­eas. The re­sult­ing rate will be $61.10 per an­num per prop­erty for a pe­riod of 10 years, com­menc­ing in the 2018/19 year.

Changes to the Na­tional Build­ing Stan­dard (NBS) fol­low­ing the Can­ter­bury earth­quakes are an­tic­i­pated to have a huge fi­nan­cial im­pact on the district. The coun­cil owns 50 build­ings through­out the district and es­ti­mates 50 per cent are po­ten­tially earth­quake-prone ac­cord­ing to the NBS. It has pro­posed a new earth­quake prone build­ing district rate be es­tab­lished, start­ing low for five years and in­creas­ing over the next five years. A to­tal of $3.5m is pro­posed to be col­lected over 10 years.

The third new rate is a district foot­path main­te­nance rate to fund all the main­te­nance costs of foot­paths through­out the district. An ex­ten­sive foot­path sur­vey in 2017 re­vealed 969 faults im­pact­ing al­most 5,500sqm of foot­paths in the district – an es­ti­mated main­te­nance cost of $1.3m. To cover this, a dif­fer­en­tial rate is pro­posed for ur­ban and ru­ral ar­eas. A fixed charge of 80 per cent will be charged to ur­ban ratepay­ers, to­talling $40.02 per an­num per rate­able ur­ban prop­erty, and 20 per cent, or $8.12 per rate­able ru­ral prop­erty per an­num start­ing in July.

In other LTP de­ci­sions, the coun­cil opted to ac­cept the max­i­mum fund­ing avail­able – $1.5 mil­lion – from NZTA which will be matched by coun­cil. Other ad­just­ments to road rates will be made to en­sure its af­ford­abil­ity.

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